25 Ecologically Sensitive Areas Identified in Kerala

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The Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel (WGEEP) has identified 25 ecologically sensitive areas in the state of Kerala. The panel was constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and its report is due on June 5th. There are indications that Sholayar, Athirapally, Nelliyampathy, Attapadi, Vythiri, Malakkapara, Ranni and Konni are on the list. Certain areas close to the forest in Munnar will also be declared ecologically sensitive. The WGEEP’s proposals have to be cleared by the local panchayats. … Read More

Lessons from Voluntary Resettlement in the Western Ghats

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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

Jairam Ramesh announces plans to setup Western Ghats Ecology Authority

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Union Minster of State for Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, announced that a Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA) will be setup shortly. After being notified, the body is expected to identify places to be declared “no development areas” in the 51 districts of six states that form a part of the Western Ghats. Nine such authorities have been setup under the Environment Protection Act (EPA). He disagreed with suggestions that the previous authorities were toothless. Mr. Jairam Ramesh was … Read More

Lost Amphibians of India (LAI) initiative rediscovers five species of frogs

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Scientists from the University of Delhi and other researchers who collaborated with them in the LAI program have rediscovered five species of frogs previously believed to have been extinct. The rediscovered species are: Chalazodes Bubble-nest Frog (Raorchestes chalazodes), last reported 137 years ago; Anamalai Dot-frog (Ramanella anamalaiensis), last reported 74 years ago; Dehradun Stream frog (Amolops chakrataensis), last seen 26 years ago; Silent Valley tropical frog (Micrixalus thampii), last seen 31 years ago; and Elegant tropical frog (Micrixalus elegans), last … Read More

Wildlife Beyond Boundaries

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The elephants stood at the stream’s edge. As the adults drank in measured trunkfuls, calves gambolled in the water. Just above them, on the slope, a large sambar stag emerged silently from the undergrowth. From a cluster of trees above came the scolding call of a giant squirrel, as a troop of Nilgiri langur foraged in the canopy. Just as we were slipping into a reverie, imagining ourselves in pristine wilderness, a woman called loudly to her children playing nearby … Read More