The Shillim valley is far removed from the dissonance of city life. Nestled in a cocooned valley of the Western Ghats, it securely lies in the forested carpet of the wild. However, even amidst this secure setting, the area is subject to deforestation, slash and burn activities, cattle grazing and random commercial developments. Some of its mountain slopes have been excessively damaged, and while the Western Ghats region receives the full vigour of the southwest monsoons, it results in severe soil erosion more recently due to climate change.
The conservation work carried out by the Shillim Institute is done in partnership with Oikos For Ecological Services, Pune. The mission of the conservation programme is to conserve the natural and cultural heritage of the Western Ghats and engage the region in a global discussion on land stewardship by private and government initiatives.
To promote native plants, prevent soil erosion and increase groundwater levels, the Institute has planned various conservation activities that include:
- Tree plantations – native and endemic saplings plantations with fence protection
- Watershed structures – gully plugs, stone bunds, percolation ponds, stone lines
- Moisture conservation – percolation ponds, the natural growth of grass, plantations
- Vegetation management – local seed dispersal in open lands, plantation of hardy trees
- Habitat development – stone, log, bush – pilings, perches, and hedge creations
One Landscape - our global sister organisation
A not-for-profit organisation, its a collective of performance and studio artists, scientists, architects, landscape architects, policymakers, and entrepreneurs that promotes the conservation of wild places around the globe, forwarding a new understanding of conservation as a creative practice. It is the global sister organisation of the Shillim Institute, which is located at the heart of the Sahyadri Range.
Led by Margie Ruddick, landscape planner/designer, winner of the 2013 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in landscape architecture; & Martin Brody, composer, Wellesley College Professor (Emeritus) & 2007-10 Arts Director, American Academy in Rome.
- To promote the conservation of wild landscapes by integrating science, art, policy, and community.
- To develop sustainable conservation road maps through collaborative, creative, local, and international partnerships.
- To shift the culture of conservation from one that objectifies nature to one that understands humans as integral to natural systems.