Agroforestry as an avenue for enhanced livelihoods, lower ungulate-crop raiding and PES in central India
~ by Satvik Parashar
Since the last few decades, biodiversity conservation measures in India have largely been dependent on the creation of state-controlled protected areas (PAs). Despite the popularity, PAs in India face many conservation challenges that include fragmentation, insufficient size, limited connectivity, development pressure, close proximity to human population etc. Additionally, there can be resentment among some local populations in these areas as they are seldom part of the decision making processes that directly affect them. Inclusive strategies such as ecotourism and biodiversity-friendly agriculture are proving to be more sustainable steps in conservation. A recent paper focuses on the effectiveness of voluntary conservation initiatives on private agricultural lands such as agroforestry. For the involvement of landowners in agroforestry, the influence of factors such as 1) Program Design, 2) Land Characteristics, Demographic and socio-economic characteristics of landowners, 3) Socio-psychological variables of landowners has been studied in this paper.
Figure 1 :Program Factors and Landowner Characteristics that shape Landowner Preferences
~ by Amrita Neelakantan
The Narmada river has shaped much of the central Indian landscape. It is also known as "Life Line of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat” with its invaluable contribution to the two states in many quantifiable and unquantifiable ways providing water for the heart of India and all of the people and wild places that it flows through. The Narmada starts from the Amarkantak plateau in Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh and flows westwards over a length of 1,312 km before draining into the Arabian sea. Bordered by the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, the Narmada is one of three major rivers flowing from the east to the west. More on the river basin – here.
Source: Photo; Map
A recent study by Prof. Tarun Kumar Thakur (from the Department of Environmental Science at the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University in Amarkantak) and collaborators uses satellite imagery to look at decadal changes in land use within the upper catchment of the Narmada river. The study strongly suggests planners of urbanizing areas utilize spatial information from satellites to conduct similar studies to manage water resources in the face of climate change related struggles ahead. As is now common knowledge, water will be one of the main resources we will have to manage to the best of our abilities given uncertainty in monsoon rainfall and growing urban centres in central India.
An important consideration is that the Narmada and its tributaries such as Gayatri, Savitri, Kapila, Baitarini, Arandi emerging from Amarkantak region are all are fed by rain water. In years with ample rainfall there is a consequent positively correlation to the flow in these rivers. The Maikal range where these tributaries and the Narmada originate are under tremendous anthropogenic stress – indicators of which are clear in the changing land use and land cover dynamics as described for the Narmada catchment in this study.
~ by Mansi Monga
Project Dhvani takes you into the world of forests like never before. In 2018, NCCI members – Pooja Choksi, Sarika Khanwilkar and Vijay Ramesh began their journey of collecting data in the form of sounds (bioacoustics) for wildlife & forest management or as they like to call it ‘a mixtape from the forests of India’. These are used to detect biodiversity, and understand the relationship between biodiversity, land use cover and resource management.
The word ‘Dhvani’ comes from Sanskrit and means ‘Sound’, and sound is the essence of their project, becoming evident as we go on.
Using sound as scientific data for conservation efforts is as unique and intriguing as it sounds, and “opens a new window into the future of forests in India”.
~ by Aditi Patil
Rapidly growing road networks contribute to a country’s social and economic development, but this contribution comes at a high price that is paid by wildlife. Roads cutting through wild habitat adversely affect animals, with one of the most distinct impacts being Animal-Vehicle Collisions (AVCs). A recent study conducted by researchers at Dr. Bilal Habib's lab at the Wildlife Institute of India examined factors like animal behavior and traffic characteristics that influence AVCs, and how information about these factors can be used to prevent such accidents.
Increased connectivity through roads is critical for development. However, it increases construction of transport infrastructure, often passing through wild habitat. This poses a risk to wildlife. Animals attempting to cross roads often end up in collisions with vehicles. Notably, there are no natural factors of selection governing AVCs, meaning that these accidents occur entirely by chance. Both healthy and unhealthy individuals in animal populations are equally exposed to the risk. This non selective mortality can negatively affect a population through a loss of healthy individuals. Animals may deliberately begin to avoid crossing roads due to AVCs, thus leading to a barrier to movement. Such barriers will result in isolation of animal populations, and in some cases may even lead to the local extinction of species.
~ by Mansi Monga
The Forest Rights Act enacted by the Parliament in 2006 makes a provision for Community Forest Resource Rights (CFR rights) which are, rights to protect, regenerate, conserve, and manage community forest areas alongside space for three other kinds of rights: Individual Forest Rights (occupation & cultivation), Community Forest Rights (grazing, fuelwood, collection, fishing, ownership and disposal of non-timber forest produce or NTFP) and Development Rights. A recent paper titled - ‘Promoting a responsive state: The role of NGOs in decentralised forest governance in India’ addresses the post-rights scenarios in two cases – villages without active NGOs and villages with active NGOs in the realm of community rights and allowances.
Project Spotlight highlights our members' work in Central India.
|Network for Conserving Central India||