Communicating latest research concepts from both natural and social science facets of conservation.
One of the most poignant moments I’ve experienced regarding perceptive reasoning in the Nicobar Islands was when I was asked to help prevent agricultural officers bring coconut seedlings onto Little Nicobar Island in an attempt to rejuvenate coconut plantations destroyed by the Asian tsunami of 2004. The rationale my friend, Mr Moses, gave me was that Achatina fulica (giant African snail) eggs could possibly arrive along with soil attached to saplings brought in from other islands, especially South Andaman island where Port Blair is located. Achatina is an invasive species here and has snailed its way through many a kitchen garden and other vegetation. This request was from a person who had not studied beyond primary school, who used perceptive reasoning along with acute observation to perceive a potential ecological invasion and threat to his native island and future kitchen gardens that were to be re-created after the devastating tsunami.
Traditional knowledge is, I believe, not static but organic. Knowledge passed down from generations past can evolve with our present to provide information useful not just about past practices, but help cope with future problems. In the few photographs that follow, I try to depict various livelihood situations and activities from across the Nicobar Islands that combine knowledge passed on from ancestors along with customary regulations that are still practiced, though some are on the threshold of change as well.