THRISSUR: The Kerala Forest Research Institute is all set to draw an action plan for the wildlife conservation in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the first internationally assigned biosphere reserve in the country representing a unique and endangered ecosystem in the Western Ghats spread across three states in South India.
“We shall be submitting a detailed outline of future action programme on the conservation of the biosphere reserve falling within Kerala to the state government, by August 15,” KFRI director P S Easa told ‘Express’.
The state government has already prepared a draft proposal on the conservation. “We will discuss it with various stakeholders, including representatives of various departments, tribal groups, non-governmental organisations and local self-government institution heads who have a greater role in protecting the reserve, here on Tuesday,” Easa said.
Based on the discussion, the KFRA will give the final outline of future action programme on conservation.
Tuesday’s meeting which will be attended by officials from Animal Husbandry, Agriculture, Environment, Health, Education, Development, Soil conservation and Forest departments, LSG officials and district medical officers, will thrash out various strategies including ways to protect and manage the reserve, and what could be the role of the LSG representatives in its implementation.
The biosphere reserve is an attempt to make conservation more significant considering the socio-economic realities of the region and aims at conserving and using of resources for the well-being of people.
In Kerala, the forests regions that come under the ambit of biosphere reserve fall in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad and Wayanad districts.
Nilgiri is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and renders a habitat for the largest south Indian population of tigers, elephants and other large mammals. The project proposal for the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was first prepared in 1980 and it took six years for the reserve to be officially established.
Studies have stated that in the 5,520-acre Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, declared as bio-diversity hotspot in 1986, around 132 flora and 125 fauna are becoming endangered following widespread land encroachment that has upset the natural elephant pass inside the forest. It has led to the increase in incidents of man-animal conflicts in the forest fringe areas and wild animals straying into human habitation, damaging crops and property, said experts.