About Us

ATREE is a globally recognised non-profit organisation focused on environmental conservation and sustainable, socially just development. ATREE engages in the generation and dissemination of rigorous, interdisciplinary knowledge that informs and is informed by the needs of grassroots communities, policy-makers and the wider public and in building capacity for producing “knowledge for change” in the next generation of scholars.

ATREE works across landscapes on issues of biodiversity conservation and restoration, water security, sustainable resource use, livelihoods and human well-being, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Over the past 25 years, ATREE has established itself as a premier institution working on critical challenges and opportunities in environmental conservation and sustainable development. It has been recognised as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and consistently ranked among the top 20 environmental think tanks worldwide (UPenn Global ranking).


India’s vast and rich biodiversity is a defining feature of its identity in the world and is inextricably linked to its people and its culture. The varied ecosystems - across land, rivers and oceans - feed people, enhance public health security, and shield the country from environmental disasters, including those associated with climate change. Its natural inheritance provides core ecosystem services such as clean water, fertile soils, carbon sequestration, wild pollinators, and pest control agents. Biodiversity also serves as a perpetual source of spiritual enrichment, intimately linked to physical and mental well-being.

But the biodiversity that supports and provides these services is in danger of being lost forever. India’s rivers are experiencing declining water flows, air and water sources are polluted, habitats are being degraded or destroyed, and new infectious diseases are emerging and spreading. Above all, the frequency and severity of climate change impacts threaten to exacerbate all these problems. Left unchecked, these trends will result in vast human, environmental, and economic costs. It is clear that preserving biodiversity is directly related to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of people.

Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & the Environment (ATREE) is a unique voice making the case that we must rethink and reimagine our relationship with nature, adapting and integrating society’s activities into a new, green economy.

Over the years ATREE has played a key role in national and state-level policies, plans and programmes including the nomination of the Western Ghats as a UNESCO Heritage site and the development of a long term ecological observatories network by MOEFCC that later became a national-level programme.

About the Collaboration

ATREE sought support from Rainmatter Foundation to deepen its involvement with environmental conservation and sustainable, socially just development. In particular, Rainmatter by focusing on the following:

  • Addressing biodiversity decline and associated losses in ecosystem services, land degradation, and climate change along three paths: conservation, restoration, and sustainable land use

  • Working with all stakeholders within and outside protected areas across ownership types (government, commons, and private lands) and different ecosystems (natural and human-made) on issues of land rights and participatory governance, sustainable use of natural resources, and climate-resilient agricultural practices

  • Widening and deepening its engagement, particularly in the Western Ghats and the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots, through partnerships and collaborations

  • Engaging with K-12 and undergraduate education stakeholders in India to influence environmental education curriculum and pedagogy and work to strengthen its postgraduate and certificate programs to build a new generation of environmental leaders


In keeping with its focus and the pathways to achieve its goal, ATREE has taken the following steps:

The Himalaya initiative

Padma Shri, Dr. Eklabvya Sharma

Dr. Eklabya Sharma has joined ATREE as Strategic Advisor and Distinguished Fellow to shape ATREE’s strategic new initiative, The Himalayan Initiative (THI). Under the careful stewardship of Dr. Eklabya Sharma and guidance of the Executive Director, The Himalaya Initiative has gained tremendous visibility and importance, both with ATREE’s Board of Trustees, as well as outside of the organization. THI has now formalized its 10-year strategy, built partnerships and proposals, and started the process of creating visibility through networking. We’ve also signed MoUs with the Government of Sikkim, ICIMOD, and confirmed our partnership with the Great People’s Forest Fund. In addition, ATREE & THI have been actively participating in various events, including COP28 and the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics Forum, to enhance our visibility and impact.

With an aim to strengthen the Water and Society Program we onboarded 3 respected water focused scientists. These 3 hires bring to the program a hydrologist, a water-focused political ecologist and a water policy and governance specialist besides the existing 2 Fellows focused on hydrology and water quality. The Water Program has initiated the development of a 5-year program plan.

Building the Lifelong Learning & Environmental Education Program
In our efforts to focus beyond the current PhD scholars and Masters students we are expanding our Lifelong Learning & Environmental Education Program to offer certificate courses and enhance environmental education at the K-12 level.

We are collaborating with industry, government, and practitioners to offer certificate courses. We are also developing age-appropriate, context-relevant teacher capacity building programs and place-based experiential learning opportunities for K-12 students.

We have already offered one certificate course and are in talks with partners like Pratham and Wipro Earthian for more collaborations.

We also partnered with UMAS, Boston and APU, Bangalore to conduct a two-day conference on environment education in higher education and are pursuing a conversation with the Wangari Mathai Institute, Kenya for a possible global South online certificate course on Community Conservation