Founder Profile – Dr. Manju Vasudevan

Manju spent the first years of her career researching canopy pollinators and advocating bee habitat conservation, with organisations such as ATREE, FES and Keystone Foundation.  She holds a PhD in Pollination Ecology from Imperial College London. She was a Fulbright Nehru post-doctoral Fellow (2014) at the University of California Santa Barbara. She spearheads the Conservation and Livelihoods Program at River Research Centre, Kerala, and consults with grassroots NGOs and conservation groups across the country. She is one of the Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Fellows, 2021. She is also India Chair, G-100 – Youth Enterprise and Leadership (

More recently, her work has focussed on helping assert Community Forest Rights of forest-dwelling people belonging to three Adivasi/ indigenous groups in the Chalakudy river basin, Kerala. Using the cooperative model of enterprise building, women’s groups have been trained in value addition of non-timber forest products (NTFP), and local economies strengthened. The work demonstrates that Adivasis can find secure livelihoods close to their ancestral domain without jeopardizing the future of the forests and can take on stewardship roles in conservation.

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