Wildlife & Biodiversity

Who will protect wildlife from the conservationists?

The environment ministry’s decisions on wildlife protection contradict the pledge for conservation

 
By A K Ghosh
Last Updated: Tuesday 09 January 2018
The National Board of Wildlife also allowed diversion of 622 ha of tiger corridor in Maharashtra's Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve for the construction of an irrigation canal. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The National Board of Wildlife also allowed diversion of 622 ha of tiger corridor in Maharashtra's Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve for the construction of an irrigation canal. Credit: Wikimedia Commons The National Board of Wildlife also allowed diversion of 622 ha of tiger corridor in Maharashtra's Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve for the construction of an irrigation canal. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

According to the October issue of Protected Area Network, the government has approved felling 3,44,644 trees in 1,000 hectares (ha) of Palamau Tiger Reserve to facilitate work for the North Koel Reservoir Project in Palamau, Jharkhand. The project was approved in 1910 and started in 1970 with an estimated cost of Rs 1,652 crore. After 47 years, the project authorities calculated the environmental loss at Rs 51,065 lakh and benefit at Rs 12,21,515 lakh. The method of calculation of Cost Benefit Analysis including loss of ecosystem services has not been published. Ecosystem services include provisional service comprising food, water quality, natural medicines, ornamental resources, genetic diversity maintenance, regulation related services such as air & water quality, climate change, moderation of extreme events, erosion control, pollination, biological control, disease regulation of human health, and cultural and social services including landscape and amenities values, ecotourism and recreation, cultural values and education, art and research values.

The National Board of Wildlife approved de-notification of 400 ha of forest land in the buffer zone of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan for mining. Although the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had opposed it as it interrupted the pathway for tigers, the union minister of environment Harsh Vardhan recommended de-notification on September 4, 2017.

The National Board of Wildlife also allowed diversion of 622 ha of tiger corridor in Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra for the construction of an irrigation canal. The move to reduce the eco-sensitive zone from 100 km to 10 m was questioned and termed arbitrary by the Supreme Court. In fact, the ministry of environment decided to charge 10 times the Net Present Value (NPV) to divert National Park and 5 times NPV for diverting the wildlife sanctuary. NPV is calculated on the basis of values of both goods and services that can be derived from the forest; for example, timber and non-timber forest produces can be considered as goods while the absorption of carbon dioxide by plants, release of oxygen from the plants, providing habitat for biodiversity, micro climate control, groundwater recharge and preventing soil erosion are considered as services but so far, was not included.

There is a drastic change in policy favouring conservation of already declared protected area or its adjoining area. The conservation of protected area, which was started during the British period at a small scale, was significantly enlarged with a change in the national policy of Wildlife Conservation and formation of National Wildlife Advisory Board backed by Indian Wildlife Act (1972), amended till date. The protected area for wildlife not only helped to protect targeted species but other plant and animals as well as ground dwelling species, including microbes and micro arthropods. The protected areas also represent examples of undisturbed typical ecosystem in every major climatic zone of India, starting from the mountains to the ocean.

Wildlife sanctuaries not only protect keystone or other main wildlife species but offer protection of biological diversity in that region. India is a major player in conservation of biological diversity. But the same ministry’s decisions on wildlife areas fully contradict the pledge for conservation and long awaited mission of putting 33 per cent of India under forest cover. 

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  • First of all,I am happy with the decision took by the ministry of environment &forest$and very glad to hear about the progress in tiger population, tanks to all staffs &officers behind this project. THE SAD PART IS ON MY SIDE THAT EVEN THOUGH IAM A DENTIST I LIKE TO SERVE FOR THE WILD LIFE WORLD TOO,MORE THAN DENTISTRY. I TRIED FOR THE INDIAN FOREST SERVICE EXAMIINATION WITHOUT KNOWING THAT MEDICAL GGRADUATES ARE NOT ELIGIBLE. ITS VERY SAD FOR THE DOCTORS LIKE ME WHO ARE WILLING TO GIVE THEIR SOUL & BODY FOR CONSERVING THE FLORA &FAUNA.PLEASE DENY ANY WRONG KIND OF TALKING FROM MY SIDE,I ONLY TRY TO EXPRESS MY SAD PART.I STILL TRIED FOR THE RANGER OF FORESTS EXAM CONDUCTED BY THE RESPONSIBLE STATE, THERE TOO THE CRITERIA HOLD'S THE SAME AS THAT IN IFS.ONLY MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT&FORESTS CAN BRING THE CHANGE. ATLEAST FOR FOREST RANGER EXAMINATIONS PLEASE ALLOW OR RECONSTRUCT THE ELIGIBILITY.IN EVERY FIELDS THE ONE WHO IS MENTALLY BOND WITH IT CAN BRING A MIRACULOUS CHANGE.I BELIVE STRONGLY I CAN BRING A HEALTHY &SUCCESSFUL FLORA&FAUNA TO OUR COUNTRY. THIS IS THE DREAM OF PUPIL LIKE ME WHO ARE SINCERE AND FOND OF CONSERVING THE WILD POPULATIONS IN OUR COUNTRY.I HOPE THE MINISTRY WILL TAKE NECESSARY STEPS IN THIS MATTER. SINCERELY DR SUHAIL SALIM.

    Posted by: Dr Suhail Salim | 10 months ago | Reply