Rooted in the Nilgiris and fostering global movements in Conservation, Enterprise, and Livelihoods


Based in the State of California, The Nilgiris Foundation (TNF) is a registered non-profit created to support and expand the work of the eco-development organisation, Keystone Foundation, in India.

Community and Conservation

As an antidote to the rapid urbanisation of the Nilgiris that is quietly eroding the landscape and disrupting the traditional way of life of its people, we design and support culturally and ecologically sensitive enterprises that enable livelihoods. 

Our areas of engagement, research and innovation are centred around Ecology, Economy and Equity, and include Food, Land, Communities, Water, Forests, Livelihoods

A local woman from the Badaga community, Kotagiri. Image: Ramya Reddy

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve or the NBR has a number of indigenous Adivasi communities—the Todas, Kotas, Paniyas, Irulas, Kurumbas, Cholanaikkans, Kuruchiyans, Mullukurumbas, Adiyans and the Alyars. Most of them are dependant on forests and natural ecosystems for their livelihoods.

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Toda temple rethatching ceremony in progress in Melgaars, an ancient Toda hamlet. Video: Ramya Reddy

The ethnic groups of the NBR, like the pastoral community of the Todas, are small populations who generally live in geographical concentrations which they have inhabited for thousands of years.

A day in the life of Janagiamma, a senior indigenous healer from the Alu kurumba community of the Nilgiris. Video: Ritwick Doraiappah