Sirsi is a small town situated in the Uttara Kannada district in the state of Karnataka which is surrounded by lush green forests and several waterfalls. The town is situated at an altitude of 590 m above mean sea level in the heart of Western Ghats. Mainstay of the economy in Sirsi is subsistence agriculture with major food crop as paddy. Other than this, local people own Areca nut plantations making the town one of the major trade centers for Areca nut which is sold across India and the world.
The climate of Sirsi is tropical and is strongly influenced by monsoon. The region is rich in biodiversity and main type of forest existing in Sirsi are evergreen, semi-evergreen, moist deciduous and dry deciduous as a results availability of good timber species is common.
Sirsi has numerous educational institutes out of those College of Forestry; Sirsi is one of the premier forestry schools in India. The college is located at Banavasi Road. College of Forestry, Sirsi is affiliated to University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad. College of Forestry, Sirsi as a part of their curriculum has a two week Rural Attachment and Work Experience program (Course No.–WEF405 (0+2)) for attachment with NGO’s/Entrepreneurs/ plantation farmers. Forest-PLUS team proposed the training on Tools, Techniques and Methods (TTMs) which was well received by the Dean of the College. He was convinced with the nature of Forest-PLUS program and its effectiveness which was welcomed as an overall new working experience for them.
The training program consisted of 0+2 credits and the students were evaluated against that which finally added to their degree course evaluation process.
The overall objective of the training was to develop within the trainees an advanced understanding of the ecological survey techniques using the tools, techniques and methods developed under the Forest-PLUS program for the estimation of the carbon stocks within the various forest types present in Sirsi.
The training module had two components which included classroom training for developing the understanding in the theoretical part and subsequently field exercises to replicate the theory on the field. The module consisted of various pedagogical tools which were used for exhaustive and better communication of the information to the target group like classroom lectures, audio-visual techniques, discussion oriented group activities and field exercises.
The training consisted of a total of 14 days out of which six were Day one started with the registration of students, their attendance and filling of pre survey form. The main aim behind the pre survey analysis was to accustom ourselves with the knowledge of the students regarding the tools, techniques and methods used in forest inventory. This was followed by lectures from Mr. Akhilesh Singh, Mr. Ankit Rawat and Mr. Kunal Bharat on various topics related to Introductory session on Forest-PLUS, REDD+, Role of IORA in Forest-PLUS program, global climate change etc. The lectures were followed by short documentaries on REDD+ and success story of Forest-PLUS program in Indonesia. The audio-visual component gave an overall view and understanding of UNREDD and REDD+ activities, drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
On day second the arena was first taken up by Dr. S.L. Madiwalar, Ex dean, College of Forestry, Sirsi followed by Dr. A.G. Koppad, professor & Head, Department of Natural Resource Management, College of Forestry, Sirsi. The day was continued with the class room lectures from Mr. Akilesh Singh, Dr. Isha Rana and Mr. Kunal Bhara.The screening of documentaries on Payment of Ecosystem Services, GIS & Remote sensing and forest fireswere also there. The two days classroom lectures had made the students to understand the role of remote sensing &GIS, Payment of ecosystem services, PRA students were made involve in group activity related to identification of various drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
On the third day the students were taken to the field exercise where they were made acquainted with the instruments. Mr. Akhilesh Singh took the lead and explained sample plot laying techniques with the help of GPS and compass.
The very next day, students were taken to the field to demonstrate and replicate whatever they have gained from the classroom exercise. Due to some unavoidable circumstances field exercise were restricted to the Betta-Lands only. The Betta-lands are very unique revenue lands, community that grow Areca nut and other specific activities.
The five days field visit was designed and planned for collecting data and making the students well conversed with the instruments used in forest inventory.
The last day of the training commenced with the report submission by students followed by welcome note from Mr. Ashwin A.S. from Silviculture shared their experiences and outcomes from this training module. The learning of the past fourteen days was presented by Ms. Pallavi and Ms. Supriya in a crisp and comprehensive manner.Dr. Kernan, CoP, Forest-PLUS interacted with the students on “Ecosystem approach to Sustainable forest management”.
During the second half of the day the students were evaluated by a panel of five members including Dr. Kernan, Dr. Koppad, Dr. Isha, Mr. Rathod and Mr. Akhilesh on the basis of their understanding and learning from the training.The training came to an end with distribution of certificates to the students by Dr. Kernan and vote of thanks by Mr. Ashwin A.S .
Assessment of the training
To assess the success rate of our training, the pre and post survey forms filled by students on day 1 and day 14 of the training respectively were analyzed. During the analysis of the pre assessment forms it was evident that the students with poor knowledge in certain components of the training was improved and shifted to higher level of understanding in post assessment forms. The level of understanding which was initially poor, reduced drastically from 24.0 % to 3.0 % after the training was imparted to them. Also the trainees’ understanding level in several areas shifted towards very good and excellent.