Jagdeesh is the Chief Executive of the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES). FES works with culturally diverse communities in varied ecological settings across India to conserve and better govern their natural surroundings. Puppala began his professional life in 1986 working with rural communities in the semi-arid tracts of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. After handling critical functions in building a learning team of practitioners and strategic visioning of the organisation, Puppala has been the Chief Executive of the Foundation since 2001. Under his tenure, FES has opened up, embraced institutional diversity, capitalized on the changes in the external environment, reinforced the mission, and evolved a wide range of strategies to improve scale, scope and influence. At a larger level, Puppala is working with national and international organizations to locate community lands and governance in the discourse on land rights, which is mostly steered towards individual ownership. He advocates for a ‘Commons’ paradigm for ecological governance instead of relying excessively on centralized and individualized approaches to managing shared natural resources.
Puppala has been conferred the prestigious ‘Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship’ for 2015. His current areas of interest include conservation planning (of forests and water), commons, smallholder agriculture, decentralized governance, biodiversity informatics, history of science and law, and systems thinking.