|Internet Bulletin : Issue Number 7
April 20, 2000
Wildlife of Maharashtra
to this issue
This bulletin contains important papers that discuss international and national issues with direct relevance to the wildlife of Maharashtra.
and literature useful for management of Maharashtra's Wildlife : Part
2. Tiger conservation Text : Dr. P. Kumar
3. Management and
Scientific Organisations for India (including Maharashtra's) wildlife :
and literature useful for management of Maharashtra's Wildlife : Part Three
By faculty of the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun
Papers and Articles
Datta, A (1997) - Records of turtles from Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India; Journal of Bombay Natural History Society.
Datta, A and SP Goyal (1996) - Comparison of forest structure and use by the Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) in two riverine forests of Central India; Biotropica, 28(3): 394-399.
Goyal, SP, b Sinha, N Shah and HS Panwar (Accepted) - Sardar Sarovar Project - A conservation threat to the Indian wild ass, Equus hemionus khur; Biological Conservation.
Hussain, SA (1996) - Group size, group structure and breeding in smooth-coated otter Lutra perspicillata Geoffroy (Carnivora, Mustelidae) in National Chambal sanctuary; Mammalia 60(2):289-297.
Hussain, SA, PK Malik and BC Choudhury (1996) - Chemical immobilization of smooth-coated otter (Lutra perspicillata) by ketamine and xylazine hydrochloride; Journal of Bombay Natural History Society; 93(2): 214-218.
Jhala, YV (provisionally accepted) - Seasonal effects on the nutritional ecology of blackbuck; Journal of Applied Ecology.
Jhala, YV-Contributed articles on snow leopard in a book "In Danger" Published by Ranthambhor Foundation.
Johnsingh, AJT (1996) - A barren stage - Efforts in China's Wuyishan reserve; Frontline, 5 April 1996.
Johnsingh, AJT (1996) - Call of the wild; The Hindu; 23 June 1996 Johnsingh, AJT (1996) - Tracking the lions of Gir; The Hindu; 29 September 1996.
Joshua, J and AJT Johnsingh (1995) - Ranging patterns of elephants in Rajaji national park: Implications for reserve design; In, A week with elephants; Proceedings of the International seminar on the Conservation of Asian Elephant held in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, South India, 13-15 June 1993; JC Daniel and Hemant S Datye (Eds.); Bombay Natural History Society; Oxford University Press, Oxford; pp. 256-260.
Khan, JA, Ravi Chellam and AJT Johnsingh (1995) - Group size and age-sex composition of major ungulate species of Gir lion sanctuary and national park, Gujarat, India; Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 92: 295-302.
Khan, JA, Ravi Chellam, WA Rodgers and AJT Johnsingh (1996) - Ungulate densities and biomass in tropical dry deciduous forests of Gir, Gujarat, India; Journal of Tropical Ecology; 12: 149-162.
Maity, SK and AK Sardar (1996) - Opportunities galore; In The Hindustan Times; 16 April 1996.
Mishra, C and AJT Johnsingh (1996) - On habitat selection by the goral Nemorhaedus goral bedfordi; Journal of Zoological Society of London; 240: 573-580.
Raman, TRS, C Mishra and AJT Johnsingh (1995) - Survey of primates in Mizoram, north-east India; Primate Conservation; 26: 59-62.
Rana, MS (1996) - Internet perspective for information services; In, Library Herald; 32(3-4), pp 115-119.
Rawat, GS, RS Chundawat and S Sathyakumar (1996) - Conservation planning and management of protected areas in the Himalaya; In, Conservation and Management of Biological Resources in the Himalaya; PS Ramakrishnan, AN Purohit, KG Saxena, KS Rao and RK Maikhuri (Eds.); GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Kosi-Katarmal, Almora and Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi; pp 68-84.
Sardar, AK and SK Maity (1997) - Think forestry; In, The Hindustan Times; 25 February 1997.
Silori, CS and BK Mishra (1996) - Secondary impacts of developmental projects on the elephant corridors in Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary; Abstract published as Souvenir of National Seminar on Conservation of Endangered Species and Ecosystem : Protechnological and Ecological Approaches; Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi; 5-7 December 1996.
Sunderraj, SFW and AJT Johnsingh (1996) - Impact of flash flood on the gallery forest and arboreal mammals of river Servalar, Mundanthurai plateau, south India;. Journal of Wildlife Resources; 89-94.
Sunderraj, SFW, BK Mishra and AJT Johnsingh (1995) - Elephant use of Rajaji-Corbett forest corridor, north-west India; In, A week with elephants; Proceedings of the International seminar on the Conservation of Asian Elephant held in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, South India, 13-15 June 1993; JC Daniel and Hemant S Datye (Eds.); Bombay Natural History Society; Oxford University Press, Oxford; pp 261-269.
Trivedi, P and AJT Johnsingh (1996) - Roost selection by Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) in Gir forest, India; Journal of Bombay Natural History society; 93: 25-29
Williams, AC and AJT Johnsingh (1996) - Status survey of elephants and their habitats in Garo hills, north-east India; GAZAH; 16: 43-60.
Williams, AC and AJT Johnsingh (1996) - Threatened elephant corridors in Garo hills, north-east India; GAZAH; 16: 61-68.
Williams, AC and AJT Johnsingh (1996) -
Elephant capture in Meghalaya, north-east India - The past and the future;
GAZAH; 17: 1-7.
Bhatnagar, YV and S Sathyakumar (1997) - Developing a long term monitoring programme for birds and mammals in the Indian Ocean and Antarctica ; Report on the XV Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica; Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun; January 1997; pp 37.
Chowdhary S., et al (1996) - Management of elephants; Interim report on the West bengal Forestry Project; Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun.
Rajpurohit, KS and NPS Chauhan - Survey of animal damage problem in and around protected areas and managed forests: Phase-I Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa.
Ramesh, K and S Sathyakumar (1997) - Conservation status, distribution and relative abundance of ungulates in Great Himalayan national park; Interim report on FREE-GHNP Project; Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun; February 1997; pp 49.
Rawat GS, SP Sinha, Bitapi Sinha and VB Sawarkar (1997) - Management of rhinoceros; Interim report on the West Bengal Forestry Project; Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun.
Vinod, TR, SP Goyal and S Sathyakumar (1997) - Ecology of ungulates, bears and pheasants in Great Himalayan national park; Interim report on FREE-GHNP Project; Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun.
Williams, AC and AJT Johnsingh (1996) -
A status survey of elephant (Elephas maximus), their habitats and an assessment
of elephant-human conflict in Garo hills, Meghalaya; Report submitted to
Meghalaya Forest Department and Government of India; Wildlife Institute
of India, Dehra Dun, India; pp 27.
Chauhan, NPS (1996) - Resolving human-large felids conflicts in and around protected areas in India; International Symposium on Wildlife Management, Utilisation and Trade; EcoWorld '96 Congress, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kala, CP and GS Rawat (1996) - Conservation and management of alpine meadows: A case study from the Valley of Flowers national park; National Seminar on the Conservation of Endangered Species and Ecosystems; at Varanasi, 5-8 December 1996.
Karunakaran, PV, VK Uniyal and GS Rawat (1996) - Biodiversity of grasslands in the high ranges, Kerala; National Seminar on Biodiversity Conservation in High Ranges; at Munnar, Kerala; 1-2 October 1996.
Rawat, GS (1996) - Sacred plants of the Himalayan region and their conservation; National Seminar on Sacred groves of India - Their Biodiversity and Conservation; at Hyderabad; WWF-India (AP Branch); 21 April 1997.
Jhala, YV (1997) - Tigers in Panna: Their
conservation prospects in semi-arid sub-optimal habitats in India; Tiger
2000 Conference; at London; Zoological Society of London. Feb 20-21, 1997.
Environmental impact assessment of proposed Oman-India gas pipeline project on wildlife values (1995); WII-EIA Technical Report 14.
An evaluation of the proposed nuclear power station site at nagarjunasagar with special reference to its conservation value (1996); WII-EIA Technical Report 17; (1996).
Ecological assessment of proposed hydrotreatment plant at Bongaigaon; (1997); WII-EIA Technical Report 18.
Ecological impacts of lignite mining in
Kutch with special emphasis on the Indian grey wolf and its habitats (1997);
WII-EIA Technical Report 19.
Text : Dr. P. Kumar
Nothing seems to generate more conservation
ardour in wildlifers and common man alike than the talk of the 'stripes
on fire'. The long-term prospects of the tiger surviving as a free ranging
species depend largely on its chances of doing so successfully in India.
The Indian tigers (of Royal Bengal proprietary) constitute approximately
half of the estimated total wild population.
They are distributed over an amazing diversity of habitats. The scale and scope of the Indian tiger conservation strategy seems
to be unmatched with any other conservation project in the world. Project tiger has come to the rescue of the Indian tiger.
Uttar Pradesh, the land of the heroic exploits of the legendary Jim Corbett tops the list of tiger population with about 960 tigers, while Madhya Pradesh (the romantic Kipling land) follows close behind with about 810 tigers. Obviously, these figures include the. tigers outside the reserves too.
Tiger Conservation in India
One of the most visible of international conservation efforts, Project Tiger has just completed more than two and a half decades of its existence. I discuss here some of the scientific, socio-political and economic issues that have come to bear upon this project, and how they have contributed to its successes and failures.
Panthera tigris, the modern day tiger, is thought to have originated in Siberia. It now ranges across much of Asia and
southeastwards into the Malay peninsula. There are five extant subspecies, of which the Indian tiger P. tigris tigris is the most abundant, with an estimated present population of 4000. It occurs in the Indian subcontinent and western Burma where it intergrades with the Indo-Chinese subspecies P.tigris corbetti. This top predator is found in diverse temperature, altitude and habitat regimes ranging from the snow-covered Himalayas to the deciduous and evergreen tropical forests of southern India, Burma and Malaya, and the estuarine mangrove swamps of West Bengal.
Tigers are top predators where they occur,
and are highly territorial. Male tigers command areas upto 150 sq.km in
Chitwan Tiger Reserve of Nepal, and encompass several females territories. Territories are non-overlapping, though occasionally adult cubs and 'transients' may linger in the territory of other adults till they establish their own [13, 15]. Mobility in tigers varies geographically and seasonally, and is thought to be related to environmental changes, prey and water availability
Reasons for Endangerment
Hunting of predator and prey, habitat loss and fragmentation have been the main reasons for the endangerment of the Indian tiger. An apocryphal estimate of 40,000 tigers at the turn of the century is widely quoted [8,14]. Thousands of animals were hunted by the British and Indian ruling classes before national independence in 1947 and by Indian sportsmen and forest officials alike from then onwards. By the 1950s the population had dwindled to a few thousand individuals. Rewards for the destruction of big cats provided further impetus to the hunters.
Objectives of Project Tiger
The Indian tiger was declared a protected species in 1972 and the Project launched soon after, with WWF pledging $1,000,000 in assistance. It was intended as a plan for conserving species as well as associated habitats and biota.
The objectives of the project are summarized
in the following statement:
"To ensure maintenance of a viable population of tiger in India and to preserve, for all time, areas of biological
importance as a national heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of people."
Indian Board of Wildlife
Eleven reserves were established within the first seven years. These reserves, covering a total area of about 15,800 sq.km, span an assortment of habitat types and each contains other species of concern . Management in these reserves involve the designation of core areas free of most human activity and buffer areas where restricted use is allowed. Core areas in the reserves constitute about 4,963 sq.km, with each reserve have a minimum of 300 sq. km of core area. Six reserves have been added subsequently. The field operations that followed designation of reserves include
- protection from
fire, grazing and poaching
- cessation of forestry activities in the core areas
- Soil and water conservation work
- village and cattle camp relocations
- Wildlife and vegetation surveys
A 1980/81 report published by the WWF  noted that tiger populations had more than doubled in the past seven years, and populations of other wildlife in the reserves, such as deer, boar and antelope had increased "proportionately".
Note on validity of census estimates
The only reliable method of identifying tiger is by facial marking and profiles. Pug marks are difficult to distinguish among animals - the marks of the same animal may appear different in different types. The Forest department is thus likely to over-estimate the number of individuals in their pug mark censuses.
Deliberate distortion of estimates is also
likely to have happened, because of the pressure on the local forest officials
wildlife wardens to show progress in the tiger project. Although the estimated population sizes are very different among these reserves for any census year, the densities seem quite similar across these reserves, which represent an array of vegetation types. Two areas of exceptionally high density are the estuarine mangrove swamps of W. Bengal and the moist deciduous sal (Shorea robusta) forests in the foothills of the Siwalik ranges in northern India. The former has the highest abundance of any reserve.
Other positive changes in the tiger reserves over the first decade were the improvement in water flow in streams within the reserves, with once-intermittent water courses becoming perennial in Palamau and Bandipur reserves , increase in ground cover and regeneration of tree species and bamboo, rise in ungulate populations in Corbett and Kanha.
Negative consequences of the project
Most of the negative consequences of Project Tiger stem from increased human-wildlife conflict in the reserve areas. Some particular types are:
> Predation/attacks by tigers on humans
Earlier in this century, it was thought that man-eating tigers were those that had been injured or otherwise handicapped in hunting their usual prey, or those that had accidentally acquired a taste for human flesh. These explanations seemed to be borne out by observations of game hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett, who was responsible for hunting down several man eating predators.
The tiger population increase over the first decade of Project Tiger resulted in a spate of human deaths from apparently healthy tigers. These 'outbreaks' occurred mainly in the Sunderbans mangrove swamps of the Gangetic delta in India and inland swamps on the Nepal-India border. The Sunquists who studied tiger ecology in the Chitwan Reserve of Nepal, attribute this phenomenon to the crowding of tiger territories within a limited area, that results in the competitive displacement of some individual tigers. These tigers then resort to prowling on the fringes of the reserve, where encounters with humans are more likely. The problem is aggravated by the open nature of the vegetation at the forest border, that makes it attractive to other tiger prey as well. In similar habitat in Dudhwa, North India, sugarcane cultivators had taken to planting their crops well within the parks buffer zone. Sugarcane fields make ideal nursery grounds for tigresses, that attack humans when they come to harvest their crop. In areas like Dudhwa, villagers have retaliated by attempting to destroy tigers whenever possible. In 1986 and 1987 alone, twenty-five tigers had been found dead.
> Encroachment into reserves
Humans have historically been venturing into India's forests in search of firewood, minor forest produce (fruits, leaves etc.) and fodder for their livestock. Project Tiger severely limited this access, denying people entry into the core areas, and restricting access in the buffer zones. Burgeoning human and livestock populations have exacerbated the situation.
Habitat destruction and cattle grazing are the main offenses recorded, constituting 69 % and 20 %, respectively, of the tiger reserves and other protected areas.
In some areas, entire villages were relocated following re-designation of the forests as tiger reserves. For example, twelve villages in the Ranthambore Park of Rajasthan (N India) were disbanded by 1979, six years after it was declared a tiger reserve. While monetary compensation was offered, it was rarely considered adequate by the locals, who had often lived in the area for generations, to leave. As of 1986, there were upto 15,000 people and about 40,000 head of livestock around Ranthambore. Laws prohibiting encroachment into the villages are constantly violated, resulting in often disastrous consequences. Inadequate rains in 1984 caused acute fodder shortage around Ranthambore - graziers and grass-cutters swarmed the 400 sq. km reserve, causing much damage to wildlife habitat. A forester attempting to intervene was stoned to death by the graziers, and several others were injured.
In 1987, a local administrative official yielded to pressure from villagers and granted them permission to graze their cattle in the park. This decision was quickly reversed by the Central Government, but the damage had been done and several thousand cattle had browsed the park cover. Intensive grazing has also depleted natural corridors connecting tracts of forest in many tiger reserves, increasing the potential for contact with tigers that move between what are now fragments of forest. Villagers protesting against wildlife and forest legislation set fires to major areas of the Kanha and Nagarhole tiger reserves, causing both habitat destruction and physical threat to a park ranger .
Other hurdles to tiger conservation
Besides increased conflicts between humans living around the park and the poisoning of tigers to protect livestock, the 1980s have seen a sudden increase in poaching in response to international demand . The biggest market for the fur trade - Japan - priced tiger skin at nearly US $95,000 in 1981. Tiger bones and whiskers are highly valued for apparent medicinal and spiritual reasons in China and other countries of South-East Asia. A single brewery in Taiwan is said to import 2000 kg of tiger bones a year from which it brews wine. Notwithstanding CITES and national-level legislation against wildlife trade, the market for tiger parts is flourishing. A tiger-breeding program has been set up in Beijing with Siberian stock from North American zoos, which might alleviate atleast some of the pressures on wild populations .
Suggested management strategies
Since much of the pressure on tiger reserves (and more generally, national parks and wildwife sanctuaries) comes from human and livestock populations, tackling these should be the priority for further management efforts. These require coordination between many governmental programs such as agro- and social forestry, animal husbandry, tourism, family planning and wildlife management that are administratively distinct. Some suggestions are given below: a detailed management plan has recently been prepared by a non-governmental agency in India.
(i) Reduce fuel/ fodder demands on protected areas: This may be done by encouraging plantation forestry in the common lands outside of the parks. A very small fraction of parks and sanctuaries currently have such schemes in place so there is much scope for this. A discussion of common property rights and legal reform is beyond the scope of the present discussion. Briefly, villagers have traditional access rights to some of the government-owned lands surrounding the settlements - if such land falls within protected areas, alternate sites must be made available. Relocation of villages is an option that has been partially successful, incentives to move must be strengthened.
(ii) Compensation for livestock damage by wildlife: Tigers are the major cause of livestock loss. Adequate compensation for this loss is currently in place only in a few areas. Amounts vary in orders of magnitudes across states, and even differ between predators. For example, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the money payable for a head of livestock killed by a leopard is a quarter of the amount paid if the predator were a tiger. These measures need to be standardized.
(iii) Protect corridors: While the creation of forest corridors de nova remains a controversial subject, existing and historic forest corridors have been important for movement of wildlife between habitat patches. With increasing fragmentation, it is imperative that existing corridors be maintained, perhaps with the aid of reforestation in areas where the corridors have been 'worn thin' by grazing. This is one way to accommodate expanding tiger populations in sites with severely limited areas. Currently 30 % of the parks and 26 % of the sanctuaries are officially listed as connected with one another - more such corridors need to be given protection and/or restoration.
(iv) Human and livestock population
control: Though clearly beyond the scope of any wildlife management
scheme, these two factors remain the most insidious of threats to conservation
of natural resources. Additionally, stall-feeding of existing cattle, where
feasible, can keep them from indiscriminately roaming the forests: moreover
such a husbandry scheme could meet some of the energy requirements of the
villagers (by enabling biogas generation).
Funding sources for biological diversity and endangered species conservation are a critical concern and this has spawned several excellent reviews. Some of the schemes that might be appropriate for the case of the Indian tiger are:
(i) International conventions: WWF and IUCN, two international conservation programs have provided financial support for Project Tiger since its inception. Such funding should continue. The recently announced Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act proposed to the US Congress this year seeks to earmark funds specifically for research and management projects aimed at these two species, and is a promising avenue to explore in the future.
(ii) Ecological tours: Most of the information available to visiting tourists is restricted to booklets on the area and/or checklists of fauna. Additional sources of revenue to be explored are the employment of trained bilingual naturalists that will organize nature trails and other such systematic exploration activities. These services exist only in some private resorts such as Tiger Tops in Nepal and small-scale private eco-tourism enterprises scattered across the Indian subcontinent. These services could be developed by the state Forest and Wildlife Departments on a larger scale.
(iii) Park fees: The current amounts charged are quite modest in comparison with the purchasing ability of tourists, many of whom come from countries with more powerful economies. India might do well to consider the model of Costa Rica in this respect, and allow tourism in parks to generate revenue.
Approaches that may not work in the Indian context
(i) Commercialization of wildlife hunting: This approach has met with success in countries like Zambia, where the Wildlife Conservation Revolving Fund has allowed sustainable harvest of elephants and channeled the proceedings into appropriate conservation venues. In theory, this approach has potential in the case of Project Tiger, where tiger densities have arisen beyond the carrying capacity of some parks and translocation is often inviable because of habitat fidelity of individuals. Moreover, there is an acknowledged market for tiger parts. Problems with this approach in India are regulating the take. Moreover, the idea of legalizing take (albeit regulated) will be quite abhorrent to ardent conservationists in India.
(ii) Charge for ecological services:
Some authors have proposed levying fees on public goods and services
such as high-quality water in forested watersheds. In a developing country
like India rising inflation and ever-increasing fractions of populations
below the poverty level make this an unfeasible option.
In the western world, a major ongoing debate addresses the inadequacy of single-species over biodiversity conservation
efforts. In the case of Project Tiger, we have seen that the main problems arise not from focusing on a single species: it has been demonstrated that saving a large keystone species such as the tiger can conserve large areas of natural habitat and associated biota. Rather, the problem results from failure to consider the human-wildlife interface in protected areas, and to offer traditional forest-users alternatives instead of imposing blanket bans on forest entry. Indeed, an interim WWF project report of 1981 declared:
"(the) great lesson learned throughout
the first decade of Project Tiger is a realization of the urgent need to
productivity to the depleted multiple-use areas surrounding wildlife reserves through ecological development. This
alone can bring about compatibility between the reserves and the neighbouring communities who are, at present,
struggling for subsistence."
The clashes between human and wildlife
interests in the middle 1980s in Ranthambore and other such parks underscore
the consequences of this neglect. In some parks, the situation seems irredeemable.
Only by working local needs into conservation efforts and by exploring
creative means of making the wildlife pay for themselves can we retain
any hope of ensuring amicable co-existence of humans and nature.
1969: Congress of the IUCN held in New Delhi placed the population at 2.500 and the species found its way into the Red Data Book.
1970: In India, legislation enacted banning tiger hunting and export of skins.
1972: WWF and IUCN funded Operation Tiger and subsequent nationwide census conducted by the Indian government estimated 1827 animals.
1972: The Indian Wildlife Protection Act declared it a protected species, with the caveat that an animal could be taken if it posed a threat to human life.
1972: WWF issued international appeal for funding.
1973: Project Tiger inaugurated at Corbett National Park, India
1975: International trade in tiger products prohibited by CITES.
1994: US Congress introduced The Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994.
and Scientific Organisations for India (including Maharashtra's) wildlife
Indira Gandhi Conservation Monitoring Centre
Application of GIS and RS Techniques
Where will the Information come from?
Who will be the Major Users?
With the full support of the Government of India, the Indira Gandhi Conservation Monitoring Centre (IGCMC) has been established as a major national facility by WWF-India. The aim of the Centre is to support conservation and sustainable development by providing information to government agencies and NGOs, thereby assisting in the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This goal will be achieved by developing and maintaining databases on India's environment, especially indigenous flora/fauna, habitats of conservation importance including wetlands, national parks and other protected areas, and trade in threatened species of wild flora and fauna. The Centre will network with other concerned agencies and organisations, including research and survey institutions, NGOs, universities, members of the WWF family, and international organisations such as the World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
The WWF-India Secretariat located in the Pirojshah Godrej National Conservation Centre (PGNCC) at New Delhi was inaugurated by the President of India in November 1989. WWF Indias Community Biodiversity Conservation Programme was launched by the Late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi in a separate function. At this function, in which HRH Prince Philip, President, WWF International, also participated, the concept of a National Conservation Monitoring Centre, to provide scientific information and data management support to the biodiversity programmes in the country, was put forward by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, President, WWF India.
The Board of Trustees of WWF India decided
that the Centre should be dedicated to the memory of the Late Prime Minister
Smt. Indira Gandhi as a humble tribute to her untiring efforts and pioneering
initiatives for promoting Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection.
The Centre was accordingly named as the Indira Gandhi Conservation Monitoring
IGCMC will maintain information in the form of databases on India's natural resources, especially its biological diversity including indigenous plant and animal species, habitats of conservation importance including national parks and protected areas, and the trade in threatened species of wild flora and fauna. To achieve this goal, the Centre will gather, store, retrieve and disseminate such information through a modern information management system, linked to similar natural resource organisations within India, such as government research and survey institutions, universities and non-government organisations, and outside India, such as the World Conservation Monitoring Centre and WWF International.
To provide reliable, up-to-date information for natural resources decisions.
To build databases on indicators of conservation status of species, ecosystems and biodiversity.
To support international conventions on wildlife conservation through data management and analysis.
To build data management capacity.
To provide information for Environmental Impact Assessment Studies.
To disseminate data widely through books, maps and electronic media.
Research and Analysis Services
To carry out scientific research and analysis of data in support of conservation action, the identification of conservation priorities, and the sustainable management of biological diversity.
To provide a service capable of anticipating and responding to the demands of users for reliable and up-to-date conservation information.
To provide professional technical services in support of conservation research, data base building and information management.
To build an environmental information service.
To identify and fill information gaps.
To improve accessibility; move towards realising on-line networks.
To develop bibliographic services.
To develop regional geographical linkages.
To build on information presently managed by WWF India.
To develop research and assessment capabilities.
While in the long run, IGCMC would cover all major aspects of environment conservation in the country, to begin with, it is proposed to concentrate on creating databases pertaining to species, habitats including forests, biogeography/vegetation, wetlands and biodiversity, protected areas, wildlife, and bibliographical applications. The subject areas planned to be handled in IGCMC as medium term objectives, include:
Threatened, endangered and endemic species (Flora and Fauna).
Protected Areas Network and other threatened habitats.
"Hotspot" Areas - North East and Western Ghats.
Ex situ conservation (the network of existing botanical gardens and zoological parks).
Genetic resources (medicinal plants and economic species, local breeds of domesticated animals).
Trade in Wildlife.
Conservation Projects of WWF India, other NGOs, and Government Agencies.
Conservation Projects of WWF International, WCMC, and other external organisations.
International conventions to which India is a party.
Professional expertise in conservation and environmental protection.
Environment in legislative proceedings.
Environment in mass media.
Resource materials for conservation education.
of GIS and RS Techniques
A biogeographically representative and effectively managed network of protected areas is an important means of ensuring biodiversity conservation in the country. In the face of pronounced on-going degradation of natural ecosystems, there has been a conscious and steady effort towards enhancing the protected area coverage. However, much remains to be done to assess the physical and ecological conditions of these areas. By utilising remotely sensed data and GIS techniques, it is possible to evaluate such conditions and to help develop eco- development plans for these areas. Such diagnostic studies to identify the frailties of these areas are, thus, of utmost importance to support measures for bringing about improvements through developmental activities. It is therefore intended to develop Geographic Information Systems for the protected areas in the country so that the requisite spatial information becomes available to resource managers and planners. Similar work is planned for wetlands, degraded forests and other important ecosystems. Adequate hardware and software facilities are being set up in the Centre to take up the above mentioned activities. Development of GIS databases for ten protected areas (PAs) in the country has already been taken up. These databases will provide useful inputs for effective eco-development and management planning. The selected PAs are: Buxa Tiger Reserve (TR), Nagarahole NP, Gir NP, Great Himalayan NP, Kalakad Mundanthurai TR, Palamau TR, Pench TR, Periyar TR, Ranthambhore TR and Similipal TR.
will the Information come from?
Information on India's living natural resources is today held by a large number of agencies dispersed all over the country. In a recent survey, most of these agencies indicated that they have plans afoot to consolidate and expand their existing data bases. In addition to the institutions within India, IGCMC would also interact with several international agencies and institutions such as WCMC, UNEP, ETI, ESRI, WWF NOs, with a view to utilise the data sets on Indias environment which have already been compiled by them.
will be the Major Users?
Institutions which are the potential sources of data for IGCMC would also be some of its major end-users. This is because none of these institutions have all the information available with them individually which may be required by them from time to time. As mentioned above, IGCMC would aim at promoting data sharing and also take action to fill the gaps in information, where required. Some of the major users would be Government/Official Agencies, Educational Research and Training Institutions, Non-Government Organisations,and others such as Legislators, Media Professionals, Researchers, Donor Agencies, Planners and Administrators.
For further information please contact at email@example.com
Published on the Internet with due credit to any agency holding copyright to any of the text above.
PROTECTED AREAS Update is produced every two months, as a follow-up to the workshop on Exploring the Possibilities of Joint Protected Area Management (JPAM), organised at the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi, in September 1994.
PA Update 21 was prepared by Pankaj Sekhsaria
and Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh. Illustrations by Peeyush Sekhsaria Several
news items were accessed from Centre for Science and Environment's Green
File, but have been credited to their original sources.
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