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Team Members

Our Team Members

Dr. Utkarsh Ghate

Utkarsh has 25 years of experience in biodiversity marketing especially crops, organic & sustainable herbs. He did research at Indian Institute of Science & Transdisciplinary university, Bangalore initially. He promoted many thriving farmer producer companies for women & tribal livelihoods development & directed Gram Mooligai co. Ltd. (Village herbs) guided corporate social responsibility projects esp. Plantation, of companies such as Dabur, Emami & Himalaya Drugs.

Dr. Vijay Barve

Vijay is a naturalist and biodiversity informatician, passionate about biodiversity documentation. His research interests are developing biodiversity informatics tools and visualizations and engaging with citizen scientists for biodiversity documentation through social media. He coordinates several biodiversity related communities under DiversityIndia umbrella.

Dr. Ankur Patwardhan

Dr. Ankur Patwardhan, holds a doctoral degree in Environmental Sciences of University of Pune with core knowledge of plant sciences. He is also a Chairman of Board of Studies in Biodiversity at Savitribai Phule Pune University. Currently, he is heading the Annasaheb Kulkarni Biodiversity Department of the Garware college, Pune.

He is an awardee of Elsevier Foundation’s Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge for the project addressing the topical area of improving ecosystem balance. He has also served as a Chairman of a High Level Monitoring Committee (HLMC) constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC, GOI) for the Eco-Sensitive Zone of Mahabaleshwar-Pachgani. He was also a Member of Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board, a policy level body of the Maharashtra State. He has also contributed in drafting the Wildlife Management Plan for the State of Maharashtra.


Dr. Shonil Bhagwat

Dr. Shonil Bhagwat is Professor of Environment and Development at the Open University, UK. He is a founding member of RANWA. He grew up in Pune and was actively involved in the nature conservation community in the city before moving to Oxford, UK, in 1997 to undertake his MSc and PhD as a Rhodes Scholar. Between 1996 and 1997 he had the opportunity to travel the length and breadth of India visiting sacred groves and UNESCO biosphere reserves in the country. This formative experience shaped his interest in the tightly-knit relationship between nature and culture. He has since conducted extensive research on biocultural diversity and social-ecological systems worldwide. His recent work has been centred on the links between environment and development. In particular, his research engages critically with discussions on a variety of key global concerns: agriculture and food security, biodiversity conservation, climate change, and sustainable development. Further information about his current work can be found at


Dr. Yogesh Gokhale

Dr. Gokhale holds a Doctoral degree in Botany from Mumbai University. He is the member IUCN Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual values of Protected Areas. Before joining TERI he worked as Consultant with Secretariat of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries hosted by Ministry of Environment and Forests. He also co-ordinated the India local level case study for Sub-Global Assessment of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Programme.

Raghunandan Velankar

Raghunandan Arvind Velankar works as a freelance consultant. He is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He specializes in documentation and policy analysis. His expertise areas are sustainable livelihoods,  biodiversity conservation,and natural resource management. He is an alumnus of the  International Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, The Netherlands and also, the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, India.

Project Associates


Pratiksha Mestry

Pratiksha holds a Master's degree in Biodiversity- Monitoring and Utilization from Abasaheb Garware College, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India. She has been associated with RANWA as a Project Coordinator. She has addressed topical aspects of plant-insect interaction that includes estimation of standing nectar crop, floral visitor diversity, pollen morphological studies. Understanding woody species diversity and reproductive phenological cycles in tree species in evergreen forests of northern Western Ghats are other key areas she is working in. Currently she is actively involved in conservation of threatened plant species. She also participates actively in biodiversity assessments of industrial areas.


Chaitrali Khod

Chaitrali  holds a Master's degree in Biodiversity- Monitoring and Utilization from Abasaheb Garware College, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India.  She is associated with RANWA as a research assistant and working on ecology of threatened plant species. She has tackled an important aspect of plant diversity related to studying morphological and functional fruit traits of woody species from evergreen forests of northern western ghats. 

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