The Shola Trust is a non-profit, Charitable Trust involved in nature conservation in the Nilgiri region of South India. They are a group of young people based in Gudalur, at the edge of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, working on conservation. The Sholas are a unique forest type, endemic to the southern part of the western ghats, and the inspiration for the organisation. They run many programmes: 1) Saving the sholas which are a mosaic of mountane evergreen forests and grasslands found at 1500 metres altitude, buying privately owned Shola forests in wildlife corridor and buffer areas to prevent them from being built over; 2) Working on the human elephant relationship and the model of protected zones of natural forests depopulated of humans to reexamine how we can share space with animals; 3) the Lantana project to deal with the invasive weed that has taken over ecologies and has a detrimental effect on native species, and trying to adapting to the plant to help communities make use of it with furniture. A critical part of the work includes trying to identify, understand and document indigenous knowledge, practice and beliefs that have relevance to conservation.
Why they are the right choice for others:
- Working with indigenous communities and focusing on their knowledge and strategies for conservation.
- Localised ecological work in the Shola areas to think about the of human communities, their economic sustainability, and a new relationship to human-animal conflict.
- Protection and conservation of important ecologies through new strategies.