Towards development in Bio-diverse regions.. Effort by: Omkar Parishwad & Priti Jumde – SPA Bhopal
• Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. It is a measure of the health of ecosystems. It is in part a function of climate (Natural Heritage).• Species, Ecosystem and Genetic Diversity.Western Ghats:• They form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India.• The area is one of the world’s ten "Hottest biodiversity hotspots" and has over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species, many undiscovered species lives in the Western Ghats.• At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.
• HADP: Balanced social & economical development; National development Council; 1965- Fifth five year plan.• WGDP: High Level Committee for Western Ghats in 1972, launched in 1974-75.• Forest Survey of India – landuse Mrs. Naayani Barve Ecosystem Profile, May 2007 & a Conservationalist Source: CEPF - Western Ghats & Sri Lanka• NDVI (Normalized differential vegetation index)• Birdlife International for Western Ghats and that by NRSA for Eastern Ghats- Conservation priority.
Rainfall in WG: Godavari,Receives high Krishna, rainfall Kaveri Mandovi, Zuari Receives low rainfall
• Areas: Maharshtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu; Satpura Range, Sahyadhri, Servarayan range, Tirumala range, Nilagiri malai range.• The northern portion of the narrow coastal plain between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea is known as the Konkan Coast or simply Konkan, the central portion is called Kanara and the southern portion is called Malabar region or the Malabar Coast. The foothill region east of the Ghats in Maharashtra is known as Desh, while the eastern foothills of the central Karnataka state is known as Malenadu. The largest city within the mountains is the city of Pune (Poona), in the Desh region on the eastern edge of the range.• The area is ecologically sensitive to development and was declared an ecological hotspot in 1988 through the efforts of ecologist Norman Myers.
• The GOI established many protected areas including 2 biosphere reserves, 13 National parks to restrict human access, several wildlife sanctuaries to protect specific endangered species and many Reserve Forests, which are all managed by the forest departments of their respective state to preserve some of the ecoregions still undeveloped. Many National Parks were initially Wildlife Sanctuaries.• The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve comprising 5500 km² of the evergreen forests of Nagarahole, deciduous forests of Bandipur National Park and Nugu in Karnataka and adjoining regions of Wayanad and Mudumalai National Park in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu forms the largest contiguous protected area in the Western Ghats.• The Western Ghats in Kerala is home to numerous serene hill stations like Munnar, Ponmudi and Waynad. The Silent Valley National Park in Kerala is among the last tracts of virgin tropical evergreen forest in India.
• The Fifth Plan - Beneficiary oriented. Activities such as horticulture, plantation, afforestation, minor irrigation, animal husbandry and tourism.• The Sixth Plan - balance in emphasis between beneficiary oriented and infrastructural development schemes, keeping in view the vital importance of ecological restoration and conservation.• The Seventh Plan - Maintenance of ecological balance essential for the life support system. Preservation of the genetic diversity. Restoration of the ecological damage caused by human interactions. Creation of awareness among the people and educating them on the far-reaching implications of ecological degradation and securing their active participation for the eco- development schemes.• The Eighth Plan - taking up integrated development programmes on compact watershed basis keeping in view the overriding priorities of eco- development and eco-restoration as well as the basic needs of the hill people like food, fodder, fuel and safe drinking water. Efforts would be made to adopt a sub-plan approach in the WGDP.
• Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)• Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF)• International Union for Conservation of Nature( IUCN)• Intensification of Forest Management (IFM)• Western Ghats Development Program (WGDP)• Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP)• Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)• Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & Environment (ATREE)• Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA)• Special Central Assistance (SCA)
Forest Cover:• Forest cover between 1973 and 1995 in the southern part of the Western Ghats using satellite data. The study area(Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) of approximately 40,000 sq.km showed a loss of 25.6% in forest cover over 22 years.• The dense forest was reduced by 19.5% Before : 2009 and open forest decreased by 33.2%. As a consequence, degraded forest increased by 26.64%.• There has been a great deal of spatial variability in the pattern of forest loss and land use change throughout the region. Our estimates of deforestation in the region for the contemporary period are the highest reported so far. After: 2010
INDUSTRY:• Gujarat’s industries are now an emerging threat to both the sensitive coastal and hill ecosystems in the state. It has been estimated that 1,782 km2 of forest area in Gujarat (12% of the current total forest area of the state) was lost between 1960 and 2000 as a result of irrigation projects, agriculture, mining, road building, industry and the legalization of encroachments.• Maharashtra’s MIDCs, adjacent to the Ghats. These centers are growing as a consequence of easy access to cheap unskilled rural labor, water that comes from the forested Ghats sector, energy, for example, the Pirangut Industrial Estate.• In Goa, the mining and tourism industries have severely impacted the integrity of its ecologically diverse landscape elements.• Mangrove ecosystems in Maharashtra are under heavy pressure as a result of increase in human activity.ROADS• The need to link these two economic development zones (coastal zone and the Deccan Plateau)• has led to more roads traversing the Ghats section to move goods and business services.• An example is the road that connects Pune from the Deccan Plateau to Mahad on the• coast via the Western Ghats in Mulshi Taluka of Pune district, effectively fragmenting the forests of the Western Ghats in this region.
AGRICULTURE• Traditional hill slope agriculture in forested areas from the Dangs southward into Maharashtra• has long been considered an ecological problem.• Recently irrigated sugarcane based agriculture has replaced traditional agriculture.• Eco Sensitive Zone that has been converted to intensive agriculture.• Factors such as effects of monocropping patterns and the use of fertilizers, herbicides• and pesticides can have serious implications on the biodiversity of the adjacent PAs. This includes disruption of food chains where insects form major link species as well as deranging their function of pollinating both forest plants and crops.TOURISM• The tourist facilities on the boundaries of the PA have equally serious impacts which create high levels of water pollution, large amounts of non-degradable waste, noise, etc.NEW TOWNSHIP• Conversation of agriculture land• No scientific development• Neo-townships in the Western Ghats have the most deleterious consequences for the integrity of the eco-sensitive slopes of the Western Ghats.
Objective: Demarcate areas of the Western Ghats to be notified as Ecologically Sensitive.This will require identifying of landscape elements with clearly defined norms of land usemanagement. Thus the proposed ESAs would have to be categorized into different types, astheir sensitivity levels and patterns vary across the Ghats. Two basic issues need to beconsidered:I. Existing ESAs: There are already notified ESAs supported by the MOEF and the judiciary.1. Protected Areas2. ESAs around Protected Areas3. Hill-station ESAsII. Proposed ESAs: There are equally and even more biologically valuable potential ESAsthat must be categorised into different types for area specific management.1. Areas Proposed but not Notified as ESAs2. Reserve Forests and Closed Canopy Forests3. Water Bodies4. Sacred Groves5. Specialized Ecosystems6. Species Based ESAs
The Protected Areas have already been prioritizedbased on their legal status into National Parks,Wildlife Sanctuaries and recently newly suggestedas Community Reserves.There are two other useful data sources that areused to plan effective ESAs:•Planning a Wildlife Protected Area Network•Management of National Parks and SanctuariesESAs around Protected Areas:Currently the Ministry of Environment and Forest(MOEF) has mandated that a 10 km buffer zonearound the Protected Areas should be notified asan ecologically sensitive area. However, thisruling has been repeatedly violated around thePAs of the Northern sector of the Western Ghats.There are 18 PAs within and at the periphery ofthe northern part of the Ghats. The level ofprotection has been varied and fluctuating due tounclear management and differences in the priorownership of the land.
Examples:tribal retaliations that occurred in and around Purna Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat a fewyears ago. This led to the uncontrolled felling of a large number of trees in the ProtectedArea, development of roads, industrial and urban development, tourist activity. This hasbroken the continuity of forests.Hill-station ESAs:Among the hill stations of the Western Ghats, only Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar, Matheran inthe Sahyadris have been classified as Ecologically Sensitive Areas. This leaves out areas suchas the new townships, old forts such as Panhala, Sinhagad etc. that area growing into urbancenters with serious environmental problems due to garbage dumping, water pollution, etc. astheir tourist carrying capacity has been exceeded.Mahableshwar-Panchgani Ecologically Sensitive Area: 237.28 sq kmThe Department of Environment, Maharashtra Government carried out a study on theenvironmental status of the Mahabaleshwar plateau in 1982 and stated if not checked now, theentire plateau may be destroyed within a decade and rendered unfit for human habitation’.(MoEF) had gazette a preliminary notification inviting public objections and suggestions forthe declaration of Pachmarhi as an Ecologically Sensitive Area. This was the first hill station tobe considered for declaration as ‘ecologically fragile’.
•Thus the Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani ESA Notification follows the same pattern as usedby the Pachmarhi draft ESA Notification. For the first time provisions were made forheritage conservation, regulation of groundwater extraction and regulation of traffic.These provisions were added keeping in mind the ecology of the hill station as an ESA.•Sahyadri Ecologically Sensitive Areas (SESA) 4200 sq km. in Karnataka inMaharashtra was suggested as an ESA in the Northern Western Ghats. This wasfirst proposed by the National Committee for the Protection of Natural Resourceson June 21, 1999.•Matheran was constituted as an ESA in 2003. The Eco-Sensitive Area covers anarea of 214.73 sq km and a 200 m buffer zone and consists of the area of theMatheran Municipal Council and its environs.The ESAs in the northern sector of the Ghats is one strategy that could bringabout longterm sustainable land management in the Ghats.
Acts: SuggestionsENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION The Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 canACT, 1986 be suitably modified for Ecologically Sensitive AreasWILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT, ‘Ecologically Sensitive Area’AMENDED 1993 be issued to provide a legal framework for Ecologically Sensitive Areas under the Western Ghats Authority whereby ESAs can be legally declared.THE INDIAN FOREST ACT, 1927 ON The limits of ESAs canRESERVEDFORESTS be decided using Geoinformatics to study vegetation, slope, hydrology etc.FOREST CONSERVATION ACT, 1980 This section of the Forest Conservation Act mustWITH 1988 AMENDMENTS be suitably modified and used for protecting ESAs from further degradation. It should not be possible for State Governments to remove the Ecologically Sensitive Area status once it has been created on good scientific grounds.MAHARASHTRA REGIONAL AND AreasTOWN PLANNING ACT 1966 that contain high biological values and are ecologically fragile are NOT suitable for township development. Thus most of the western ghats are not suitable for developing such townships.
Location and Relief: Latitude & Altitiude Distance from Sea FOREST Distribution of land and water FLOOD FIRE SPREAD OF TROPICAL DISEASES MELTING OF ICE SEA SINKING LEVEL COAST RISEINCREASE IN RISE GREEN TSUNAMI & IN HOUSE EARTHQUAKE TEMPERATURE GASES EXCESSIVE SUN STROKE FOOD Air pressure and wind: SCARCITY LOSS OF BIODIVERSIT Surface pressure and wind Y Upper air circulation Western Cyclones
• The objective of scheme is to conserve the forest area of the Western Ghats except Nilgiris district. It is being implemented in Coimbatore, Erode, Dindigul, Kanniyakumari, Madurai, Theni, Tirunelveli, Tiruppur and Virudhunagar districts.• Fire prevention works, soil and moisture conservation works, anti- poaching measures and solar fencing are some of the major activities carried out under this scheme.• During 2010-2011, an amount of Rs. 2.70 crore has been spent under this scheme. In Dindigul, Madurai and Theni districts, the scheme has been implemented at a cost of Rs.1.82 crore through the Tamil Nadu Watershed Development Agency fund. It is proposed to implement this scheme during 2011-2012 with an outlay of Rs.3.10 crore.
The erstwhile Integrated Forest Protection Scheme aimed atprotecting the forest resource by strengthening protection measuresto control forest fires, survey and demarcation of forest boundariesto prevent encroachment by construction of cairns, carrying out fireprevention works, improvement of roads for better protection,provision of better communication facilities, preparation of workingplans for scientific management of forest divisions etc.With a view to make the Integrated Forest Protection Scheme morebroad based, Government of India revised and renamed this schemeas "Intensification of Forest Management". In addition to the abovecomponents, four new components have been added in the existingscheme, which are as follows:• Protection and Conservation of Sacred Groves.• Conservation and Restoration of Unique Vegetation and Ecosystems.• Control and Eradication of Forest Invasive species.• Preparedness for Meeting Challenges of Bamboo Flowering and Improving management of Bamboo forests.
• Under the Grants-in-aid recommended by the 12th Finance Commission Rs.27.35 crore was spent for maintenance of forests from 2005-2006 to 2009-2010.• The 13th Finance Commission has recommended an amount of Rs.142.48 crore for Tamil Nadu towards grants-in-aid for Forests for the period 2010-2011 to 2014-2015 for development of forests and preservation of forest wealth.• During 2010-2011 the scheme was implemented at an outlay of Rs.6.88 crore. During 2011-2012, the scheme is proposed to be implemented at an outlay of Rs. 28.74 crore.