In light of the deteriorating condition of the lakes in Bengaluru city and to commemorate World Wetland Day (February 2), the Department of Life Sciences, Christ University, Bengaluru organized a National Seminar on Dwindling Wetlands – Impacts on Livelihood and Ecosystem Services (DWILES – 2017) on 30th and 31st January 2017 at main campus, Christ University. The seminar brought together around 70 participants from different parts of the country, including Kashmir, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc. A total of 52 abstracts and 7 full length papers were received, which were published in the form of a Seminar Proceedings book. The inauguration of the seminar along with the book release was done on 30th January by Dr Fr Thomas C Mathew, Vice Chancellor of Christ University. Welcome address was given by Dr Antony P U, the Coordinator of the two day seminar. The chief guest of the function was Dr Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, UN Global 500 Laureate and an inspirational wetland activist, who enlightened the assembly on the pathetic condition of the East Calcutta Wetlands. The seminar was divided into five technical sessions, spread over two days. Topics for the seminar included Wetland Conservation, Monitoring and Evaluation, Wetlands for Livelihood of Local Communities, Joint Lake Management Programs, Wetland Biodiversity and Conservation, Sustainable Farming Businesses in Wetlands, Remote Sensing and GIS in Wetland Management etc. Oral presentations followed by interactive sessions with the presenters enhanced the learning experience and information exchange at the seminar. A field trip to Madiwala Lake, Bengaluru on the morning of the second day of the seminar was an activity much enjoyed by the participants. After the technical sessions and field trip, a valedictory function was held. Dr Fr S Xavier from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata was the chief guest for the ceremony. Prizes were distributed and the vote of thanks was delivered by Prof P U Antony, Organizing Secretary – DWILES 2017.
On the whole, the seminar was an enriching experience for both the participants as well as the organizers. There was a lot learnt about the different facets of wetland issues including ecological, sociological and economic issues. The entire experience reiterated the dire need to use multi-disciplinary approaches to monitor, restore and conserve the few remaining wetlands we have today.