A Bullet to the Lungs: Mumbai Set to Lose More Forest to High-Speed Railway Line

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Will development once again take precedence over conserving India’s natural wealth?

India’s forests are quietly disappearing to accelerated infrastructure development. During the past three decades, approximately 15,000 sq km of forests have been diverted for development projects. Among them, 5000 sq km for mining, 1,600 sq km for defence projects and 1400 sq km for hydroelectric projects (http://data.gov.in). As of 2019, government data shows that 15,19,167.19 hectares of forest land have been diverted for non-forest use cumulatively across … Read More

Protected Areas and Beyond

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Authors Ruth DeFries, Krithi K. Karanth and Sajid Pareeth propose the designation of a ‘Zone of Interaction’ (ZOI) around reserves encompassing hydrologic, ecological and socioeconomic interactions between a reserve and the surrounding landscape, in their paper, “Interactions between protected areas and their surroundings in human-dominated tropical landscapes,” published in Biological Conservation in 2010.

There are 683 Reserves covering less than 5 per cent of total land area in India today. Most of these reserves are embedded in human-dominated landscapes. Land … Read More

Pulicat Bird Sanctuary in Grave Danger

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Pulicat Bird Sanctuary, spanning northern Tamilnadu and southern Andhra Pradesh is the 2nd largest brackish water ecosystem in India. Hundreds of thousands of migratory waterfowl throng the lake from October to April, including large numbers of Greater and Lesser Flamingos. Efforts are underway through national conservation bodies such as Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural history (SACON) to declare it as a wetland of international importance and obtain for it the status of … Read More

Developmental Activities Have ‘Seriously Impacted’ Districts Of Ratnagiri And Sindhudurg, Says Expert Panel

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The entire districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in southern Maharashtra have been “seriously impacted, both environmentally and socially, by a number of mining, power projects and polluting industries”, says a report submitted by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP). The impacts mentioned include pollution (noise, air and ground water), depletion of fisheries, deforestation, siltation of water bodies and “loss of unique biodiversity elements”, among many others. The report claims that there are also numerous illegal activities in these areas … Read More

Western Ghats Expert Panel Terms Entire Area Sensitive

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Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF), Government of India, in its report, has classified the 142 taluks (in 44 districts in six states) in the Western Ghats boundary into Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZ) 1, 2 and 3. It recommended that “no new dams based on large-scale storage be permitted in Ecologically Sensitive Zone 1. Since both the Athirappilly of Kerala and Gundia of Karnataka hydel project sites fall in Ecologically Sensitive … Read More

Conservationists Win Legal Battle in Bhadra Tiger Reserve

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In a tough legal battle conservationists, succeeded in stalling two projects that would have upset the ecologically fragile eco-system buffering the Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Chikmagalur district.

One was a 124 windmill project to be set-up by Karnataka Renewal Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) subleased to BB Hills Wind Farm Development for a period of 30-years on the Bababudangiri Hills and the other was a resort-cum-spa, promoted by Bangalore-based Brigade Hospitality Services, in collaboration with the Singapore-based Banyan Tree Hotels and … Read More

Mining in the hills

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Quarrying for stone and granite (mostly illegal) is a typical sight in many hilly areas and cause disastrous and irreversible changes to natural habitats. Those engaged in illegal mining are typically businessmen who operate with the tacit support of certain corrupt elements in local village offices, the police and the mining and geology department. They hire migrant labourers and use unlawfully procured explosives to blast rock formations in ecologically sensitive areas without government permission. The racketeers use politically influential goondas … Read More

Agriculture land close to BRT Tiger Reserve handed over for Industrial Purposes

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The Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) has handed over 410.44 acres of land to Bannari Amman Sugars. The land is said to be within 1 km radius of the BRT Tiger Reserve and also on a part of an Elephant Corridor. According to a Supreme Court order, non-forest activities cannot be taken up within 10 kms of a protected area (eco-sensitive zone). The forest department has made it clear that no work can be undertaken without an approval from … Read More

Guidance Document for Non-forestry Activities in Wildlife Habitats

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The Wildlife  (Protection) Act, 1972 and orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court make it mandatory for following certain procedures for taking  up any non-forestry activities in wildlife habitats. Now it is mandatory that all non-forestry activities in wildlife habitats  (within PAs and 10 km from PA boundaries), need approval from State and National Board for Wildlife (Standing Committee). In order to facilitate and guide people on the various steps to be followed for taking up non-forestry activities in wildlife habitats, … Read More

MOEF Guidelines for Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) around Protected Areas

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The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has come out with new guidelines to create eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) around Protected Areas to prevent ecological damage caused due to developmental activities around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

The new ESZ guidelines, declared by the ministry on February 9, 2011 would also ensure that these areas act as “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas. The guidelines were updated on the ministry website today. … Read More

40 new mining leases granted near Sariska

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JAIPUR: The beauty of the Aravalli-flanked Sariska Reserve may soon be a thing of past with Rajasthan government granting 40 new mining leases in the eco-sensitive zone, something that’ll leave the area pock-marked with quarries and pose a threat to an ambitious tiger rehab project.

The government sanctioned the leases on Tuesday on a plea that Aravalli range, where stone mining had been sanctioned, had contours less than 100 feet, which is not considered as a hill as per state … Read More