Congratulations to Diya Paul and Divya Karnad, two graduate students from the Department of Geography who received awards for pre-dissertation research in India.
Diya Paul is utilizing the SASP research and travel grant to carry out pre-dissertation fieldwork in southern India. The focus of her research is on wildlife conservation in forests that lie outside Protected Areas. Working in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, Diya plans to explore the social, ecological and political factors that converge to conserve wildlife in forests that have historically played a role in connecting two distinct biogeographic regions, the Eastern and Western Ghats. Her study area is a part of the Eastern Ghats and comprises of scrub and dry deciduous forests rich in both flora and fauna. Unassuming and underrepresented, these forests provide habitat to endangered and endemic species like Terminalia pallida, the Four-horned antelope, the Yellow-throated bulbul and the Golden gecko, among others. Additionally, a larger percentage of the rural population of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh depends upon these forests for fuel wood, non-timber forest products and for grazing livestock. This summer Diya is spending time in the field to develop networks, identify potential study areas (reserve forests) and carry out preliminary fieldwork for her doctoral research.
Divya Karnad will apply the grant to her work on locating effective commons management in multi-scale fisheries governance, also in India. "Having worked in marine systems in India for nearly a decade now, my interest in fisheries and marine conservation stems from a coupled human and natural systems perspective. With the help of my advisors, Dr Bonnie McCay and Dr Kevin St. Martin, my research will explore the patterns and processes involved in managing fisheries in India. Through my work, I seek to dispel myths about a lack of regulations in Indian fisheries by adding to a small but growing body of evidence about political action and the formation of unions among fishing communities in India. Focusing on a series of villages in two districts in Maharashtra state, India, I work with fishing communities to understand the repercussions of some of their collective decisions about the management of their fisheries."