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Dina Nath Tewari, India

Dina Nath Tewari was born in 1937, growing up the son of freedom fighters, and became a very well educated man. He achieved Master of Science in Chemistry from University of Allahabad, followed by Post Graduation Diploma in Forestry (AIFC) from the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun. From there, he went on to receive his Post Graduation Diploma in Planning & Rural Development, and then Ph.D. in Social Anthropology. He has received honorary Doctorate of Science diplomas from several universities.

Dr. Tewari has spent more than five decades in promoting sustainable management of natural resources and nation building for eradication of poverty and hunger while protecting the environment, and has received international acclaim for achieving sustainability. During 2007 he received the Rio-Tinto-Alcan prize for sustainability, with the award of one million US dollars. His organization, Utthan, applied the award to extend its agroforestry program, especially on degraded land in areas with high levels of poverty.

He has also received numerous national and international awards for his innovations in the field of herbal medicines, biofuel development, water and sanitation. As an inventor, he owns more than 10 patents. He has served United Nation organizations, CGIAR institutions, as Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Commission, Member Planning Commission Govt. of India, Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor of Universities. He is no doubt an expert in forestry, energy, planning and development. Working as Vice-Chairman of the Chhattiharh Planning Commission, he was responsible for developing large-scale Jatropha curcas plantations, bio-diesel production and consumption.

While most known around the world for his remarkable work to develop sustainable communities and help the poor, his innovations in bamboo development include several significant accomplishments. For example, Dina Nath Tewari worked as a silviculturist, a forest utilization officer, conservator and chief conservator of forest to promote bamboo development. He identified 105 bamboo species and raised them in bamboo arboreta at several locations. He drafted “Intensive Forest Management Plans” and promoted sustainable bamboo management & establishment/expansion of forest industries. He also collected germ-plasm of elite bamboo species and developed micro- and macro- propagation techniques.

His enthusiasm led him to promote cultivation, management and sustainable harvesting techniques, and as well as improved processing and marketing of bamboo handicraft items. Thinking of more modern applications, Dr. Tewari promoted the use of bamboo as bioplastics, biofuels and advocated more than 1500 recorded uses including food, fodder, fiber, shelter & herbal medicine etc.

While he was working as Director of Environment and for the Tribal Development government of India, he advocated for protecting the environment by raising bamboo plantations in a number of ways such as:
• The Taj Mahal (a wonder of the world) was facing the problems of air pollution mainly due to sulfur dioxide. The landscape of Taj was improved by raising plantation of bamboo & other species.
• Important watersheds were greened by raising bamboo plantations for soil stabilization and erosion control and for purification of soil, water and air. Siltation of Bhakha Nangal, Bansagar & Hirakund reservoirs has been substantially reduced.
• Air pollution in New Delhi and Raipur were reduced by raising bamboo plantations in the President Estate, Lodhi Garden and around Bhilai Steel Plant & Sponge Iron Plants.
• Countered climate change by recycling of carbon dioxide (12 tonnes per ha per year), release of oxygen and sequestration of carbon into the soil by raising bamboo in agroforestry systems.

While working as Director General of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Dr. Tewari worked on the following endeavors:
• Improvements in bamboo-based handicrafts, household goods, building materials, flooring and bio-based composites;
• Improvements in pulping techniques, paper making and developing textiles and rayon fibers;
• Production of bamboo charcoal, vinegar and extracts from bamboo leaves;
• Promotions for the production and consumption of bamboo shoots and other derivatives as medicine;
• Compilation of findings in research papers, magazines and books;

And he wrote a comprehensive monograph on bamboo, published by International Book Distributors, Dehradun, in 1994. This monograph was a benchmark for future botanists and investigators.

As Member of the Planning Commission of India, he continued to promoted bamboo development, with the founding of the Bamboo Technology Mission to provide technical, financial and engineering support for the establishment of bamboo-based industries. This led to India’s National Mission on Bamboo, which is charged with creating and improving bamboo plantations, improving harvests and stimulating markets to help eradicate poverty.

Dr. Tewari has been very engaged in promoting projects to “green” the Earth to help counter climate change, and he authored the book, Agroforestry and Wastelands in 1996, with M.P. Singh. As President of the Utthan: Centre for Sustainable Development and Poverty Alleviation, he initiated the following activities:

• Rehabilitated 10 million hectares of degraded forest by planting bamboo under the Joint Forest Management scheme;
• Promoted integrated development of 10,000 forest villages by adopting agroforestry and planting bamboo as a pioneer species on community lands;
• INBAR/IDRC project by planting bamboo and jatropha on surface soil-mined (clay bricks) areas converting red dirt to green landscapes. Later on by adopting bioremediation techniques, 90,000 hectares of mined areas around cities were greened, increasing the productivity and the profitability of 100,000 poor families, enabling them to cross the poverty line;
• Generation of electricity in remote areas using bamboo chips as raw material in biogas fire;
• Establishment of a number of modern nurseries producing 2 million quality bamboo saplings yearly and distributing to farmers for greening degraded areas;
• Development of bamboo application technology courses (certificate, diploma and degree courses) and started organized education programs and skills development for employment in bamboo-based industries and enterprises;
• Support of the Bamboo Society of India, Centre For Green Building Materials and Technology, Kishan clubs, Bamboo-Based Industries and Enterprises for using bamboo as an environmentally friendly, rapidly renewable resource, having more than 1500 listed uses, effective in disaster management and rehabilitation and generating employment for the masses;
• Seminars, workshops, exhibition orientation programs, awareness camps and demonstrations etc. to popularize bamboo for using it in a great number of ways and greening the Earth for survival of living beings.

Dr. Dina Nath Tewari is indeed a World Bamboo Pioneer, and during the 10th WBC he share with us his passion, and a plea, ‘Ecological Balance is Non-Negotiable’.