Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF)

Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF) is an Indian NGO that works with local communities to conserve community owned forests; establishing projects which derive an income from standing forest rather than an income from felling trees.

AERF prioritise educating communities about the value of biodiversity, engaging local people in conservation activities and working with them to develop income based on the sustainable use of forest resources.


Organisation’s aim: Conservation on the ground – making a tangible difference at the grassroots level through maximum action and minimal activism.

Find out more about AERF’s framework and their initiatives on their website »

Partner History

Since its founding in 1994, AERF has been engaged in creating a link between conservation research and its actual use in the practices of sustainable development. AERF believes that establishing this link would aid not only ecosystem development, but also efforts in poverty alleviation.

AERF has been working in areas where no other conservation mechanisms exist. While treading this lesser-travelled path, the foundation has been able to identify core areas of work in order to achieve maximum impact and ensure that the forests and its people thrive through a symbiotic relationship.


Partnership with WLT

World Land Trust (WLT) became partners with AERF in 2015 following a site visit to India by WLT programmes staff and a following visit to the UK by AERF joint-Direct Jayant Sarnaik.

In 2018 AERF and WLT signed the first 10 year conservation agreement in the Kuyle-Phansavale corridor to protect 43 acres of forest habitat in the Western Ghats.

With WLT funding AERF will aim to:

  • Conduct spatial, biodiversity and social surveys
  • Conduct stakeholder meetings
  • Protect corridors spread over ~ 350 acres for minimum 10 years through drawing up incentive based conservation agreements with landowners
  • Run capacity building sessions with local communities
  • Improve the management of old growth forest fragments through monitoring and drawing up a management plan

Other projects and activities

  • AERF has undertaken organised development and livelihood based projects, such as the widely publicised World Bank funded program to develop decentralised bio-fuel centres in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. AERF has also been expanding its scope of work and interests by taking on purely research based projects.

Contact Details

Founder Director: Dr Archana Godbole