Ravishankar Thupalli

Ravishankar Thupalli

Independent Forest Biodiversity Agroforestry Traditional Agriculture Specilaist and Community Mobilization Expert

Self Employed



About me

I am a forestry biodiversity specialist and community mobilization and development expert. Skilled in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating projects on community based biodiversity conservation including mangroves and agroforestry in the Asia and pacific region. Expert in disaster impact and needs assessment and program planning. Expert in participatory tools like community mobilization and organization, stakeholders training needs assessment, PRA, Microplanning, Group Formation, SHGs, Gender mainstreaming, forest restoration and village development. Expert in ethnobotany and experienced in documenting, verification and application of ethno-botanical knowledge of tribal communities of southern India. Working experience on issues and challenges in implementing Biological Diversity Act 2002 and Access and Benefit Sharing provisions in India. Developed IPR data base for developing a sui generis system for medicinal plants. Familiar with PA management, National and Provincial Trust Funds and Local Biodiversity Fund


Worked with grass root level institutions and constituted Forest Conservation Committees, Eco development Committees and Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) and developed Peoples Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) for community based micro level biodiversity management and created multiple livelihood options for rural and tribal families.


Initiated Local Biodiversity Fund (LBF) at BMCs level for sustainable utilization of funds arising out of ABS agreements in Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand states in India


Collected and analysed data on plant species used in food, fodder, medicine, veterinary, fish poison and in cultural and material value. Also worked on traditional conservation practices of tribal communities on wild and cultivated biodiversity and role of women in conservation.


Worked on capacity development of state and district level officials and NGOs and community through folk arts and documentaries on community based biodiversity and mangrove conservation.


Worked as a guest faculty in the State Forest Service College, Coimbatore teaching Assistant Conservators of Forests during 1990 -1991


I have excellent oral and written communication skills. Worked as an editorial consultant for FAO and edited the community and Lease-hold Forestry reports of 15 years of Finland funded projects and also edited case studies under the FAO Project on Technologies and Practices for Small Agricultural Producers, India


IPBES as Lead Author and then as Contributing Author in the Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem services and on thematic assessment of Land Degradation and Restoration in the Asia Pacific


Developed the following projects

  • FAO TCP Project Proposal Document on“Strengthening Agriculture and Allied Sector Contributions to India’s NABP and the NBTs”
  • Project Proposal Document on ”Mainstreaming production sectors in conservation and sustainable management of iconic RET species Fishing cat, Otter and Whale shark in EGREE region” in Andhra Pradesh, India as a continuity for UNDP GEF Mainstreaming Project
  • ICEF - MSSRF Project Proposal Document on Strengthening the capacity of stakeholders in Participatory Mangrove Management through education, training and policy advocacy in Andhra Pradesh, India


  • IDRC- MSSRF Project Proposal Document on Strengthening resilience of Tsunami affected communities in India and Sri Lanka as a team member
  • SIDA - MSSRF Tribal Area Biodiversity Conservation Programme in Tamil Nadu, India
  • PPSS Developed Project Proposal Document on Conservation of mangrove bioresources by improving the livelihoods of communities through multiple livelihood opportunities
  • FAO Project Proposal Document on Forestry Development for Sri Lanka and Maldives
  • FAO Asia Pacific 2020 Forestry Outlook study document for Maldives
  • FAO GEF FSP Project Document on Integrated Forest Management in Solomon Islands
  • FAO GEF FSP Project Document on Integrated Sustainable Land and Coastal Management for Vanuatu
  • FAO GEF PIF on Strengthening implementation of CBD for ABS for Sri Lanka
  • UNEP GEF FSP Project Document on Strengthening implementation of Biological Diversity Act with special focus on ABS in India
  • UNDP GEF PIF on Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Conservation into Production Landscapes and Sectors in India
  • UNDP GEF Compendium on Best Practices in mainstreaming biodiversity conservation into production sectors for India
  • World Bank Project Proposal Document on Tsunami Proofing of Andhra Pradesh Coast for GoAP
  • Joint Mangrove Management policy for wider implementation across India by MoEFCC as a team member
  • Team member in developing action plan for UNDAF India for 2013 – 2017
  • Team member Country Programme Framework of FAO of the UN for India from 2013 to 2017
  • Contributed to developing NBSAP and National Biodiversity Targets in relation to Aichi Targets for India.
  • Worked in the team India in developing Ministerial segment reports for COP 11


Expert in disaster impact and needs assessment and program planning and did the following

  • Disaster impact and needs assessment of tsunami and developed Project Proposal Document and implemented Forestry development Project in the Maldives as CTA for FAO  
  • Disaster impact and needs assessment of tsunami impact in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and developed forestry Project Proposal Document including mangroves and shelterbelts for Government of India
  • Disaster impact and needs assessment of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and developed Project Proposal Document on forestry rehabilitation including agroforestry and mangroves for FAO
  • Undertook disaster impact needs assessment of flash floods in Maldives during 2007 and prepared a project proposal brief for coastal rehabilitation


Implementation experience

  • UNDP UNDAF project on Strengthening institutional structures in implementation of Biological Diversity Act in Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, India.
  • UNEP GEF project on Strengthening implementation of Biological Diversity Act and Rules with special focus on ABS in India.
  • ADB Tsunami Emergency Assistance Project 0001 MLD as International Agroforestry Specialist
  • ICEF MSSRF Project onStrengthening the capacity of stakeholders in Participatory Mangrove Management through education, training and policy advocacy in Andhra Pradesh, India. Enhanced stakeholder capacity through workshops and by hands on training in restoration and management of mangroves using participatory management guidelines
  • ICEF MSSRF Project onCoastal Wetlands: Mangrove Conservation and Management in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal states, India. Rehabilitated degraded mangroves and established mechanisms for managing pristine mangroves through forest conservation committees. Constituted national and state committees for replicating participatory mangrove management guidelines developed by the project
  • SIDA MSSRF Project onTribal Area Biodiversity Conservation Programme. Documented ethnobotanical uses of medicinal and edible plants and traditional practices of traditional cultivars of millets and shifting cultivation practices of indigenous communities of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Deposited traditional cultivars in Gene Bank for future application. Herbarium deposits of the species made. Rendered policy advice to the Integrated Tribal Development Agency, Government of Andhra Pradesh on the methods of sustainable management of medicinal and edible plants including local biodiversity in order to protect the livelihood security of the tribes. Proposed cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants that have potential for marketing by the Tribal Cooperative Corporation, Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Government of India All India Coordinated Research Project on Ethnobiology. Documented traditional utilisation and conservation practises of plant species used for food, fodder and medicine, veterinary and cultivation of traditional crop varieties by indigenous communities of Tamil and Andhra Pradesh
  • Developed tool kit cum manual for establishing coastal biosheilds / shelterbelts
  • Developed pictorial tool kit cum field manual for constituting BMCs and for preparing PBRs
  • Developed fact sheets, pictorial guides and tool kits for awareness generation for effective biodiversity conservation and sustainable management 


Expert in Project Evaluation

Conducted Mid Term Evaluation of project on Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Developing Sustainable Supply Chain and Enhancing Rural Livelihoods in Eastern Himalayas, in Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh executed by ICIMOD, supervised by FAO and funded by CFC, Netherlands. Team member of Midterm Term and Terminal Evaluation of project on “Mangrove Conservation and Management” implemented along the east coast of India by MSSRF, funded by ICEF. Undertook Terminal Evaluation of Tribal biodiversity and community livelihood development projects of SIDA and IDRC in India


Outcome of my work so far

Over the years I have worked with communities and other stakeholders with a team of colleagues and rehabilitated more than 1200 acres of degraded mangrove forests more than 15,000 acres of pristine forests under community management in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. My work also created microenterprises and self-help groups which enhanced the income of families of tribal and of fishermen community. Also developed policies and rules for better implementation of legislative Acts


My work enhanced the capacity of stakeholders particularly in Maldives by sending students abroad for academic enhancement and developing forestry sector for sustainable forest management. All the projects that I developed have been implemented which also enhanced capacities of government agencies and other stakeholders in better management of forest and biodiversity resources and also livelihoods of rural families. The projects also helped in developing agreements for benefit sharing and creation of local biodiversity fund for micro-level natural resources management


My publications has increased the understanding of local level issues in policy implementation and also enhanced the ownership of resource management by communities


Tool kits and manuals facilitated establishment of biosheilds and shelterbelts for coastal protection and constitution of village level committees for micro level forest biodiversity restoration and management

My interests

Uplifting the custodians of biodiversity for enhancing their livelihoods through community actions and interventions

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