A Landmark Event: UN Declares “Decade of Ecosystem Restoration”

Ramki Sreenivasan Announcements Leave a Comment

In the first week of March the UN declared 2021-30 as the decade of ecosystem restoration. The resolution pioneered by El Salvador was supported by calls from the international community to put ecological restoration at the forefront of national agendas. The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) has called this an important step toward focusing the world’s attention on the imperative of restoring degraded ecosystems. The UN declaration is expected to bring political commitment, scientific research and financial muscle to scale … Read More

Trends and Pathways for Ecotourism Research in India

Ramki Sreenivasan Announcements Leave a Comment

Tourism is one of the largest economic sectors world over, with a direct contribution of 3.1% to GDP and generating USD 7.6 trillion and 300 million jobs. Tourism related revenues from entry fee alone in 10 national parks in India ranged between USD 7000 to USD 300,000 in 2007-08. In 2012, the erstwhile Planning Commission identified tourism as the second largest provider of employment to low and semi skilled labour with a contribution of 6% to the country’s GDP. The … Read More

Going Nowhere? Roads and Conservation in India

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The ongoing controversy about widening National Highway 7 (NH7) has highlighted the inevitable trade-offs in conservation and development. Conservation groups and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have been at logger-heads. The former contend that widening the parts of NH7 that pass through Kanha and Pench Tiger Reserves will further fragment an important wildlife refuge and corridor. NHAI opposed the high costs of wildlife-friendly mitigation measures, and agreed to build underpasses and overlays only after the Supreme Court’s intervention. Nonetheless, … Read More

Opportunity to Build Conservation Support: Local People’s Perceptions of Parks in India and Nepal

Krithi K. Karanth Announcements, Articles, Featured Article

Protected areas and parks in South Asia are tasked with protecting biological diversity and supporting local livelihood needs, particularly so in human-dominated landscapes of India and Nepal. Krithi K. Karanth and Sanjay Nepal examine attitudes and perceptions of local residents living around five well known parks in South Asia, namely Annapurna, Chitwan, Ranthambore, Kanha and Nagarahole. These are the highlights of their study from a paper published in the journal Environmental Management.

  • Surveys and interviews with 777 local residents
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Lights on for Elephants

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Technology offers solutions for Human-Elephant Conflicts.

The dark hulks ambled in a single file across the stark green landscape of thigh-high tea bushes. Without a pause in their stride, the elephants made their way towards a tiny patch of forest. Save for the tree crickets, there were no other sounds. Had it been daytime, the elephants would have been harassed by people behaving like neurotic monkeys. On such occasions, despite their size, the elephants seemed so vulnerable, with nowhere to … Read More

Lantana in India: A Losing Battle?

Krithi K. Karanth Announcements, Articles, Featured Article 1 Comment

Lantana (Lantana camara) has become one of the world’s most invasive weeds. Shonil Bhagwat and others analyze the history of lantana invasion and management in India, Australia and South Africa. These are the highlights from their study published in the journal PLoS One, summarized for Conservation India by Krithi K. Karanth

  • The authors examined 75% of known historical records for the species in India, Australia and South Africa.
  • Aggressive extermination measures taken by the government over the
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Local Hunting and Conservation of Large Mammals

M D Madhusudan Announcements, Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

Hunting wildlife for the pot and for commercial sale is far more widespread than most people realize, and is leading to an ‘empty forest’ syndrome in many parts of the country.  M.D. Madhusudan and K. Ullas Karanth conducted a fascinating study on local hunting around two wildlife reserves in Karnataka. These are the results of their study, excerpted from their original scientific paper published in Ambio in 2002.

  • Mammals that weigh over one kilo are the most prone to hunting
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The Six Percent Solution — a New Recipe for Saving Wild Tigers

Ullas Karanth Announcements, Articles Leave a Comment

21 leading conservation biologists from across the world have proposed that since it might be far too expensive and far too difficult to save all wild tigers, we should focus a major part of our efforts and expenditure on 42 selected sites that show the greatest promise. Here’s CI’s distilled version of the original paper titled Bringing the tiger back from the brink – The six percent solution.

Current approaches to tiger conservation have not succeeded in slowing the decline … Read More

Wildlife Tourism in India — New Challenges for Park Management

Krithi K. Karanth Announcements, Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

Wildlife or Nature-based tourism is growing in many countries across the world including India. Krithi K. Karanth and Ruth DeFries examine trends and practices in wildlife tourism for ten parks across India. These are results of their study from the forthcoming paper in the journal, Conservation Letters.

Study Sites in India

Ten parks were selected across India – Ranthambore, Sariska, Pench, Kanha, Anshi-Dandeli, Bhadra, Nagarahole, Bandipur, Periyar and Mudumalai. These protected areas vary in tourist numbers, access to cities, and … Read More

‘Gajah’: The Report of the Elephant Task Force

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A major report on securing the future for the Elephant in India was today submitted to the Minister of Environment & Forests. The report lays out a comprehensive action agenda for protecting elephants in the wild and in captivity, and for addressing human-elephant conflict. The Minister welcomed the Report and promised speedy implementation of the major recommendations.

The Executive Summary is posted here. The full report can be downloaded from the MOEF website here.

Executive Summary

Securing a future … Read More

Bhadra River Recovering after Stoppage of Mining in Kudremukh

Praveen Bhargav Photos, Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

The picture of the Bhadra River on the left loaded with silt after a heavy rainstorm was taken on 30th September 2002, during an inspection by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) as ordered by the Supreme Court. The photo on the right, showing the clear waters of the Bhadra River was taken on 18th October 2010, again after a heavy rainstorm, from the same location, five years after mining was stopped by the Apex Court based on a petition filed … Read More

Protected Areas and Beyond

Krithi K. Karanth Articles Leave a Comment

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

Highway traffic, Nagarahole

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A two-wheeler bringing fresh fish from Kerala into Karnataka. Traffic starts on the Mysore-Mananthavadi highway in Nagarahole national park at the stroke of dawn. Conservationists successfully closed the highway from 6pm to 6am. Despite the many obvious problems posed by roads through wildlife areas, more roads are being planned in Nagarahole (and through other protected areas of Karnataka), by the state government.

Read related case study of night time highway closure though Bandipur Tiger Reserve.… Read More

India Adopts a New Refined Protocol to Monitor Tigers

Prerna Singh Bindra Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

Will make India world leader in big cat monitoring, say scientists.

In a move welcomed widely by the conservation and scientific community, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has adopted new refined protocols for intensive annual monitoring of tiger source populations under ‘Phase IV’ of National Tiger Estimation. The new protocol is expected to lead to more robust estimates of population density, change in numbers over time and other crucial parameters such as survival and recruitment rates in key wild … Read More

A Note On India’s Protected Areas

Praveen Bhargav Articles Leave a Comment

Here’s an interesting document from the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) which provides details on the Protected Area (PA) network of the country. While the figure of 668 PAs appears to be a large number, in reality these are small areas (just 4.9% of total geographic area) scattered across India’s landscape under severe pressure. Obviously, there needs to be a sufficiently large administrative infrastructure to protect and manage PAs. While the document has no details on this, here’s a … Read More

Tiger Roadkill, NH 212, Bandipur 2003

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This tiger was killed by a speeding vehicle on the Gundlupet – Sulthan Bathery road (NH 212) in 2003.

Two major National Highways pass through Bandipur Tiger Reserve – NH-67 (Gundlupet – Ooty Road) and NH 212 (Gundlupet – Sultan Batthery Road) – and both experience heavy traffic. The traffic on NH-67 is largely tourists plying from Karnataka to the hill station of Ooty in Tamil Nadu. While on NH 212 there is heavy passenger and truck traffic plying to … Read More

Proposal to Include Buffer Areas of Manas Under Field Director Control

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The Management Effectiveness Evaluation brought out by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has recommended that the buffer areas of the Manas Tiger Reserve under the control of Manas’ field director. Manas was notified as a tiger reserve in 2008, with 500 sq km as the core area and 2,337.10 sq km as buffer. Currently, the buffer areas are under the control of the Forest Chief of the Bodoland Territorial Council. The core … Read More

Eco-tourism Guidelines to Benefit Local Communities

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The Union Environment Ministry has proposed Eco-tourism guidelines that will end up empowering and benefitting the local communities. All tourist facilities within 5 kms of any protected area will be monitored by local communities going forward. The activities of tour operators and resorts will be monitored to ensure that no disturbance is caused to animals while taking visitors into the protected areas. Also, the State Governments will impose a conservation cess on all privately run tourist facilities. The rate of … Read More

Whose Forest Is It Anyway?

Praveen Bhargav Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

The Saxena Committee’s recipe for redressing historic injustices to forest dwellers will precipitate an ecological crisis write Praveen Bhargav and Shekar Dattatri.

While there has been a huge uproar over the auctioning of the 2G spectrum at throwaway prices to private corporations, a far more valuable asset of the nation, biodiversity, is to be handed over to thousands of Grama Sabhas for virtually unregulated and limitless exploitation. This is one of the key recommendations of the Saxena Committee, which was … Read More

Conservation Letters Study Identifies Wildlife Tourism Challenges

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A study by Krithi Karanth and others in Conservation Letters identifies challenges to wildlife because of burgeoning tourism. The main drive behind the increase is attributed to the rising affluent, middle class with money to spend on vacations. Increased revenue from tourism is still not benefiting individual parks, as it goes into a larger treasury. It also skips local communities, with the revenue ending largely in private hands. Other challenges include threats to unprotected adjoining lands, corridors as well as … Read More

Human – Elephant Conflict

Janaki Lenin Articles, Featured Article 2 Comments

In our densely populated subcontinent, elephants and people have had to increasingly share land and resources, leading to frequent and often fatal conflict. How can the government resolve this problem? Janaki Lenin and Raman Sukumar recently submitted a lengthy report on the issue. Here is a gist of the report.

A few facts about elephants in India:

  • Only 22 per cent of elephant habitat is found within our protected area network – the remaining elephant range lies outside, in places
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Lessons from Voluntary Resettlement in the Western Ghats

Ullas Karanth Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

K.Ullas Karanth and Krithi Karanth on the lessons learned from resettlement projects in three important protected areas in the Western Ghats — Nagarahole, Bhadra and Kudremukh.

Forests in the Western Ghats occur as fragmented strips within a larger landscape matrix of crops and tree plantations. Reserves in the Ghats cover only twelve per cent of total area and the average reserve size is 243 sq km; the fourteen legally protected areas in the Ghats cover a total of only 6400 … Read More

Eco-development in Periyar — an Objective Analysis

Sanjay Gubbi Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

The India Eco-Development Project (IEDP) in Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala, has often been cited as a ‘successful’ project overall. Two years after the completion of the project, Sanjay Gubbi, Matthew Linkie and Nigel Leader-Williams independently evaluated the IEDP around Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) in south India and its USD 6 million component. Conservation India (CI) summarises the paper that originally appeared in Environmental Conservation.

Preamble:

The Government of India has requested funding from the Global Environment Facility for a new … Read More