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Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF)

AERF has been involved in participatory biodiversity conservation since 1995. The organisation works primarily in two geographic regions - the Western Ghats and Eastern Himalaya. Both of these are global biodiversity hotspot. In the initial years, AERF conducted quite a few studies to understand traditional conservation practices from the Western Ghats such as Sacred groves and to know the role of indigenous knowledge in natural resource management in the Eastern Himalaya. AERF realized the need to link conservation with sustainable livelihoods of the local communities and started some exemplary initiatives to address these cross-cutting issues. AERF works through 5 thematic programs. AERF started India's first incentive based conservation initiative. AERF is member of IUCN,CGI,PAR and RSB

Date of Establishment:

05-Aug, 1994

Purpose of Organization:

The purpose of the AERF is to achieve biodiversity conservation on the ground using sound research techniques and by ensuring participation of diverse stakeholders.


AERF has been engaged in biodiversity conservation with community participation since its inception. AERF's flagship program- Sacred groves conservation is specific example AERF's long standing experience in this domain. In addition, AERF also worked on conservation of agro-biodiversity in the North Eastern States of India and in the North Western Ghats. AERF team carried out several studies to document traditional knowledge of local communities associated with natural resource management from Nagaland, Arunachal , Meghalaya and Maharashtra. Besides, AERF prepared all the documentation in local language so that communities will understand the significance of the study and participate in conservation action. AERF team carried out conservation assessment of rare and endemic medicinal tree species from North Western Ghats and based on this study, established nurseries for propagation and planted about 5000 saplings of of these species in restoration program over last 5 years. Since last 5 years. AERF is actively engaged in protection of nesting sites of Great Hornbill and Malabar pied hornbill. After knowing the success of Sacred Groves conservation initiative, the Govt of India invited AERF to take restoration of degraded sacred groves from Northern Western Ghats in 2005. AERF is engaged in restoration of about 50 Sacred groves from Ratnagiri district since year 2000. AERF's director- Dr.Archana Godbole won the Whitely Associate Award in recognition of AERF's work in Sacred groves conservation. Similarly, AERF is now member of International Partnership of Satoyama Initiative. Besides, Sacred groves conservation, AERF pioneered India's first incentive based conservation initiative in 2008 for long term conservation and protection of private forests from North Western Ghats. Through this initiative, AERF has managed to conserve about 250 hectares of private forests from the Western Ghats. AERF also worked on linking conservation with livelihoods of local communities from Western Ghats and implemented projects in medicinal plants conservation in Western Ghats and Western Himalaya. Since 2005, AERF team has been working on promoting use of native species as feedstock for bio-fuel production at regional level. This approach has resulted in sustainable livelihoods for 1000 marginal farmers from 50 villages and contributed to conservation native species. The activities of this project also has strong linkage to climate change mitigation and role of biodiversity in the same. For last three years, AERF is engaged in documenting community knowledge of natural resources and its relevance in understanding the climate change. As part of private forest conservation, AERF has undertaken plantation of native species in restoration of degraded private lands from North Western Ghats. In appreciation of AERF's activities in biodiversity conservation and livelihoods, the AERF team has received awards from respected organizations viz. Whitley Fund for Nature, Alcoa Foundation, Conservation Leadership Program. World Bank, British Ecological Society and Rufford Foundation. AERF is also member of IUCN,Clinton Global Initiative, Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, Platform on Agro-biodiversity Research, LEAD and Satoyama Initiative.
Countries in which organization is active:
  • India

Contact Details
Street Address:
C-10,Natya Chitra Co-op Hsg Society, Bhusari colony, Paud Rd,
Telephone No.:
Organization founded:

NGO Information
Focal Area:
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Change
  • Land Degradation
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  • Organization Type:
  • Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)
  • Geographic Scope:
  • National

  • Contact Person
    Dr. Archana Godbole Key Contact Person

    Contact Person
    Mr. Jayant Sarnaik Key Contact Person
    Deputy Director

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