Being out and about

Acasia is a tree that was planted in the Nilgiris by the British. As many other non-native species in the Nilgiris, Acesia has taken over large forest areas and continues to spread taking over space and nutrition of native species. The conservation team of Keystone Foundation is undergoing a task where they document all the species located in an area where Acasia trees have been cut down, in order gain an understanding what impact cutting down these trees might have on biodiversity.

Being the sidekicks of Shiny, the conservation team’s leader and knowledge bank, was the first time we had the chance to be out and about on a work mission.


The day started off by drinking tea in the back of the jeep. Chai4life and most importantly without sugar. I’ve been drinking, I’ve been drinking.


Kutin works for the conservation team and is from the Toda tribe. He is extremely skillful when it comes to flora and fauna in the Nilgiris.


Kutin photographing plants. Behind him is a forest guard who is collecting trash from the side of the road. Litter is a big problem in the Nilgiris, which has increased substantially since it became a popular tourist destination.

Shiny and Kutin will have to identify all the plants in the area. Most of them they are familiar with but we got some inside scoop that there is a grass-knower working at the forest department who will be able to help them out with all the different kinds of grass.


Some of the many types of grass in the area.

Shiny is the only female on the conservation team. She told us that one of the reasons why it is harder to find women to work in their team is due to the over-night stays that are a part of the work. Families are hesitant in letting their daughters to spend the night in another place then home.


Shiny documents different species while briefing the plans with the forest guard of the area.


Tilda in her element!