The Rufford Foundation is an organisation based in the United Kingdom that supports nature
conservation projects in various developing countries. Till date, the foundation has funded 1,175 projects in the Indian sub-continent and over 5,600 projects worldwide. The Rufford Foundation also hosts conferences in collaboration with local organisations in various parts of the world to encourage
communication and collaboration between grant recipients and researchers.
This year the conference was held in Udaipur in collaboration with the Foundation for Ecological
Research, Advocacy and Learning (FERAL) from the 12th to the 15th of March, 2022. The theme of this
event was “conservation in semi-arid and arid landscapes”. Udaipur is famous for its lakes, palaces, forts, temples, gardens and rich culture. It is surrounded by Aravali mountains and has different forest types ranging from dry deciduous forests to scrubs and thorns that are abode to fauna and flora unique to arid and semi-arid landscapes. This was the seventh conference that had been organised in collaboration with FERAL. Previous conferences have been held in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Rajasthan, Goa, Uttarakhand, the Andaman Islands and Mumbai. Each conference is aimed at providing a forum to discuss ideas and problems and towards creating networking opportunities between grantees.
Goal of this conference was to provide a common platform for the Rufford grantees from India to meet at one place and share and learn from each other’s’ conservation experiences. It also provided an
opportunity for the grantees to interact with the conservationists and researchers working in arid and
semi-arid parts of Western India. This year, the Rufford conference was a mix of online and off-line
events, and participants had the option of attending the conference in-person or virtually. During the
conference, there were a total of 21 presentations by researchers and four popular talks. Participants
presented their work in three different formats: Oral presentations of 18 minute length, speed talks of 8
minute length and presentations of videos.