Vena Kapoor

Programme Coordinator, Education and Public Engagement

Vk 20profile

MPhil Conservation Leadership - University of Cambridge, UK
Masters in Ecology - Pondicherry University, India
Bachelor of Commerce - University of Madras, India

Since 1998, I have worked in the areas of conservation research and practice. My early research was on rainforest restoration in the Western Ghats using spiders as an indicator species and developing conservation education and outreach material. From 2006 - 2010 I managed the administrative and finance team in NCF's head office in Mysore.

I received the Ravi Sankaran Inlaks Scholarship in 2010 for the MPhil in Conservation Leadership, University of Cambridge. This interdisciplinary course enabled me to engage with international conservation organisations and I worked for three years with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative which was set up to help improve collaboration between conservation organisations in Cambridge, UK. 

I joined the Education and Public Engagement Programme of NCF in March 2015 and am currently based in Bangalore, India. 


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Nature Activities

Nature Calls activities for children

Westernghats postertitle

NCF's education and outreach material

Collating more than a decade's worth of nature and conservation material


  • Journal Article
    The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project
    Lawrence N. Hudson, Vena Kapoor
    Ecology and Evolution, Volume 7, Issue 1 Pages: 145–188

    The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used this evidence base to develop global and regional statistical models of how local biodiversity responds to these measures. We describe and make freely available this 2016 release of the database, containing more than 3.2 million records sampled at over 26,000 locations and representing over 47,000 species. We outline how the database can help in answering a range of questions in ecology and conservation biology. To our knowledge, this is the largest and most geographically and taxonomically representative database of spatial comparisons of biodiversity that has been collated to date; it will be useful to researchers and international efforts wishing to model and understand the global status of biodiversity.


  • Popular Article
    Monsters in sand pits
    The Hindu in School, 24 February
  • Popular Article
    An alien in the woods
    The Hindu in School, 3 August
  • Popular Article
    Stupendous spiders
    The Hindu in School, 16 September
  • Popular Article
    The spit in the grass!
    The Hindu in School, 2 September
  • Journal Article
    The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts
    Lawrence N. Hudson et. al, Vena Kapoor
    Ecology and Evolution, Volume 4, Issue 24 Pages: 4701–4735

    Biodiversity continues to decline in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressures such as habitat destruction, exploitation, pollution and introduction of alien species. Existing global databases of species’ threat status or population time series are dominated by charismatic species. The collation of datasets with broad taxonomic and biogeographic extents, and that support computation of a range of biodiversity indicators, is necessary to enable better understanding of historical declines and to project – and avert – future declines. We describe and assess a new database of more than 1.6 million samples from 78 countries representing over 28,000 species, collated from existing spatial comparisons of local-scale biodiversity exposed to different intensities and types of anthropogenic pressures, from terrestrial sites around the world.


  • Poster
    Invertebrates of the Western Ghats - Spiders
    S U Saravanakumar, Vena Kapoor
    supported by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund

    PDF, 8.1 MB

    Spiders, Spinnerets, Arachnura, Giant Wood Spiders

  • Poster
    V Saravanakumar, Suresh Ganapathiappan, Vena Kapoor

    PDF, 9.71 MB

    Fishing Spiders, Leucauge, Lynx Spider, Giant Wood Spider, Acusilas

  • Journal Article
    Restoring rainforest fragments: survival of mixed-native species seedlings under contrasting site conditions in the Western Ghats, India.
    Restoration Ecology 17: 137-147.

    PDF, 617 KB

    Historical fragmentation and a current annual deforestation rate of 1.2% in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot have resulted in a human-dominated landscape of plantations, agriculture, and developed areas, with embedded rainforest fragments that form biodiversity refuges and animal corridors. On private lands in the Anamalai hills, India, we established restoration sites within three rainforest fragments (5, 19, and 100 ha) representing varying levels of degradation such as open meadow, highly degraded sites with dense Lantana camara invasion, abandoned exotic tree plantations (Eucalyptus grandis and Maesopsis eminii), and sites with mixed-native and exotic tree canopy. Between 2000 and 2004, we planted annually during the southwest monsoon 7,538 nursery raised seedlings of around 127 species in nine sites (0.15–1.0 ha). Seedlings monitored at 6-monthly intervals showed higher mortality over the dry season than the wet season and survival rates over a 2-year period of between 34.4 and 90.3% under different site conditions. Seedling survival was higher in sites with complete weed removal as against partial removal along planting lines and higher in open meadow and under shade than in sites that earlier had dense weed invasion. Of 44 species examined, survival across sites after 24 months for a majority of species (27 species, 61.4%) was higher than 50%. Retaining regenerating native species during weed clearing operations was crucial for rapid reestablishment of a first layer of canopy to shade out weeds and enhance survival of shade-tolerant rainforest seedlings.

  • Journal Article
    Effects of rainforest fragmentation and shade-coffee plantations on spider communities in the Western Ghats, India.
    Journal of Insect Conservation 12: 53-68.

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