M S Swaminathan Research Foundation’s Ecosystem Conservation – The Progressive Impact Series

The Progressive Impact is a feature series mentioning the actions, implications, and outcomes of various initiatives adopted by communities, organizations, and corporate – towards sustainable development and a greener earth. These Initiatives have resulted in ideal effects and measures. Thus, were duly recognized as the winners of The Earth Care Awards.

The second case study which deserves a mention here is about the efforts of a community based not-for-profit trust, the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation.

The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation accounts to be the winners of the 6th edition of Earth Care Awards – held in 2015 – under the category named Community Based Initiatives.

The base of the research foundation is in Annamalai Nagar and it functions in various coastal areas across the southern parts of the country. The establishment of the research foundation occurred in 1988 under the supervision of Professor M S Swaminathan. Professor Swaminathan is an agricultural scientist. Through this foundation, he aimed at increasing the implementation of modern scientific techniques and technologies towards ensuring a sustainable agricultural and rural development.

The major focus of the foundation is towards development of rural communities and tribal areas. Their areas of practice involve implication of appropriate scientific functions to deal with environmental problems in rural areas.

The particular initiative for which the foundation backed the Earth care award is the development of an Integrated Mangrove Fishery Farming System (IMFFS). It is a well-planned integrated mangrove, farming, and fishing system which helps to conserve the ecosystem. It also increases tribal group’s access to work opportunities.

What triggered the need for research by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation?

The coastline of India stretches over 7500 km. The communities living around the coastal areas depend highly upon fisheries, forestry, and farming for their livelihood. However, in the recent times, an exponential increase in population, disturbed climatic conditions, and other environmental factors – the coastal areas are lacking various elements of biological wealth. Apart from this, the contribution of natural marine food resources has declined over time. Moreover, the population inhabited in the costal areas is poor, unskilled, and most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Thus, the research done by the foundation aimed at finding one end solution to all of these problems. Resultantly, the Integrated Mangrove Fishery Farming System was developed and implemented along with the support for local communities residing in the coastal areas of southern coastal states – Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The outcome

The system has helped in developing techniques and methods for an integrated management of natural resources of the sea and the seashore. The measures which were undertaken in the system significantly addressed the ill-effects of climate change and helped to establish systems for insurance against vulnerability to coastal tribes caused due to climate change. It also helped the coastal communities to adapt to the increasing soil salinity which is occurring as an effect of a gradual rise in sea level.

The foundation further aims towards an absolute eradication of problems which hinders a sustainable development in the country.