3

CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES INCLUDING FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE

[Biosphere Reserves, Wetlands, Mangroves, Coral Reefs, Bio-diversity, Bio-safety Protocol, Biodiversity Legislation, Capacity Building in Taxonomy, Assistance to Botanic Gardens, Medical Plants, Desertification, Forest Conservation, Regional Offices, National Forestry Action Programme, JFM, Wildlife Conservation, Project Tiger, Project Elephant, Central Zoo Authority, National Zoological Park]


Index


Introduction

In order to address the problems of environment and development in its totality and to consider several cross sectoral issues having direct bearing on conservation as well as sustainable uses of natural resources including forestry and wildlife. Several policy instruments have been enunciated and various action programmes have been introduced by the Ministry.

Index

Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere Reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems which are internationally recognized within the framework of UNESCOs Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme. These reserves are required to meet a minimal set of criteria and adhere to a minimal set of conditions before being admitted to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves recognised by UNESCO. These reserves are rich in biodiversity and cultural heritage and encompass unique ecosystems which are representative of major biogeographic zones of the world. The goal is to facilitate conservation of representative landscapes and their immense biological diversity and cultural heritage, foster economic and human development which is culturally and ecologically sustainable and to provide support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange. The programme is a pioneering effort at pursuing the increasingly difficult yet urgent task of conserving ecological diversity under mounting pressures.

The twelve Biosphere Reserves set up in the country so far not only aim to protect representative ecosystems, but also serve as laboratories for evolving alternative models of development. The Ministry provided financial assistance to the respective State Governments for conservation and management of these Biosphere Reserves. Research and development projects were also supported. On the basis of the proposal submitted by the Ministry, the International Coordinating Council (ICC) of Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO in its meeting held on 9th November 2000 has approved for bringing the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve of India on international network of UNESCO.

[Image]

Fig 26. A view of Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve

Efforts are on for getting other Biosphere Reserves included in the International Networks of Biosphere Reserves recognised by UNESCO. This facilitates international recognition and attracts additional funding in these sites. The Secretariat for Global Environment Facility (GEF) have approved for funding special project for long term conservation and sustainable utilisation of the resources of Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve and the project is expected to start during the current year.

[Image]

Fig 27. Painted storks at Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur

The Ministry provided financial support to the respective State Governments for management interventions in the buffer zones of these biosphere reserves based on the recommendations of the Indian National MAB Committee. A number of research projects have completed during the year which have provided baseline data helpful in scientific management of these reserves. A number of new research projects were also initiated during the year. The details of the research projects initiated and completed are given in Annexure III & IV respectively. A list of Biosphere Reserves set up so far along with their area and location is given in Table-4.

Table-4

Biosphere Reserves

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sl.No.	Name of the site &		Date of Notification	Location (State) and Bio-geographic zones
	area in sq.km
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.	Nilgiri (5,520)			1.8.86			Part of Wynad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Madumalai,
								Nilambur, Silent Valley and Siruvani hills (Tamil Nadu,
								Kerala and Kanrnataka) – Western Ghats	
2.	Nanda Devi (5,860.69)		18.1.88			Part of Chamoli, Pithoragarh & Almora Districts
								(Uttaranchal) – West Himalayas 	
3.	Nokrek (820)			1.9.88			Part of Garo Hills (Meghalaya) – East Himalayas
4.	Manas (2,837)			14.3.89			Part of Kokrajar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari,
								Kamprup and Darang Districts (Assam) – East
								Himalayas
5.	Sunderbans (9,630) 		29.3.89			Part of delta of Ganges & Brahamaputra river system 
								(West Bengal) – Gangetic Delta	
6.	Gulf of Mannar (10,500)		18.2.89			Indian part of Gulf of Mannar between India and 
								Sri Lanka (Tamil Nadu) – Coasts	
7.	Great Nicobar (885)		6.1.89			Southern most islands of Andaman and Nicobar 
								(A&N Islands) – Islands	
8.	Similipal (4,374)		21.6.94			Part of Mayurbhanj district (Orissa) – Deccan 
								Peninsula 	
9.	Dibru- Daikhowa (765)		28.7.97			Part of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts (Assam) – East 
								Himalayas	
10.	Dehang Debang (5,112)		02.09.98		Part of Siang and Debang valley in Arunachal Pardesh 
								– East Himalayas 	
11.	Pachmarhi (4,926.28)		03.03.99		Parts of Betul, Hoshangabad and Chindwara districts of 
								Madhya Pradesh, – Semi-Arid-Gujarat Raiputana	
12.	Khanchanjunga (2,619.92)	07.02.2000		Parts of Kanchanjunga Hills in Sikkim – East 
								Himalayas	
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Index

Wetland Conservation Programme

Wetlands are among the highly productive ecosystems on the earth and therefore need to be conserved as they provide multiple of services like water purification, regulation of flows, fisheries, habitats for plants, animals and micro organisms, opportunities for recreation and tourism, absorbing water and therefore reducing flood risks. Because of water, wetlands are a sources of life and most of the bio-diversity depends on these fragile ecosystems which harbour many endangered, migratory and vulnerable species, Wetlands are thus part of a global network of water dependent, cross boundary sources whose constituents cannot be managed in isolation.

[Image]

Fig 28. A view of mangroves in the coral reef ecosystem of Gulf of Mannar during low tide

A programme on conservation of wetlands is under implementation by the Ministry since 1987. A total of 20 wetlands in 13 states are covered under this programme which has the following main activities.

In order to make the programme sustainable, several initiatives have been taken up by the Ministry with the main focus on biological methods of conservation rather than adopting engineering options. The thrust is on watershed management for catchment area treatment. These activities are aimed at involving close participation of stake holders. In order to cover more conservation activities and to improve the sustainability, annual outlay has been increased to five crores from three crores last year.

[Image]

Fig 29. A view of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve

Index

Mangroves

Mangroves are salt tolerant plant communities occurring in sheltered coastline areas such as bays, estuaries, lagoons and creeks. Taking into consideration ecological and economic significance of mangroves and threats faced by them due to various anthropogenic activities, the Ministry launched a scheme on Conservation and Management of Mangroves in 1986. On the recommendations of the National Committee on Mangroves and Coral Reefs, 15 mangrove areas in the country had been identified by the Ministry during 1986-87.

In the aftermath of the Super Cyclone in Orissa during October, 1999 and significant role played by mangroves in the protection of life and properties along the coastline, the Ministry identified Development of Mangroves as the Thrust Area for priority action. Accordingly following 15 additional Mangrove areas in the country have been identified for intensive conservation and management.

Subernarekha, Devi & Dhamra (Orissa)

Ramnand (Tamil Nadu)

Dakshin Kannada (Karnataka)

Devgarh, Vijaydurg, Veldur, Kundlika & Revdanda, Mumbra-Diva, Vaitrana, Vasai Manori, Shreevardhan – Varal – Turmbadi & Kalsuri (Maharashtra)

Pondicherry (Pondicherry)

Management Action Plans for all these additional identified Mangroves areas submitted by the respective States/UTs were considered by the National Committee and financial assistance was extended during the current financial year except Dakshin Kannada and Pondicherry where some of the clarifications have been sought from the respective State Governments/UTs. Similarly, Management Action Plans for the following Mangrove areas identified earlier have also been considered by the Ministry and financial assistance extended to the respective States:

Goringa, Krishna and East, Godavari (Andhra Pradesh)

Goa (Goa)

North Andamans and Nicobar (A & N Islands)

Gulf of Kutchch and Gulf of Khambat (Gujarat)

In order to motivate the concerned State Government for conservation and protection of mangroves, a presentation was made before the Environment / Forest Ministers of the respective States during the meeting held at Delhi during May, 2000. The progress of the scheme was reviewed and it is observed that a significant increase of 615 sq.km of mangrove areas in the country has been reported during the last one decade.

[Image]

Fig 30. Vashi creek showing mangrove forest at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivili, Mumbai.

Taking into consideration the assemblage of the representative species of mangroves and their associates in Bhitarkanika, a Task Force constituted by the Ministry recommended establishment of a National Mangrove Genetic Resource Centre in Orissa. Accordingly, the State Government has initiated steps for establishment of this centre. Ministry has also launched a web site on Mangroves and identified Focal Points on the East and West Coast of the country for this purpose.

Index

Coral Reefs

Coal Reefs are diverse and vulnerable ecosystems characterized by a complex inter-dependents of plants and animals. They are massive limestone structure built up through the constructional cementing process and depositional activities of the animals of the class Anthozoa as well as other calcium carbonate secreting animals. Coral Reefs are centres of high biological productivity, sites of carbon-dioxide sink and sources of huge deposits of calcium corbonate. They provide many natural raw materials of pharmacological importance including the life saving drugs.

In the Indian sub-continent, the Reefs are distributed along the East and West Coast at restricted places. Fringing reefs are found in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay as well as Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Platforms reefs are seen along the Gulf of Kutch and Atoll Reefs are found in the Lakshadeep Archipelago.

[Image]

Fig 31. Bleaching branching coral (Acropora sp.) at Gulf of Mannar

Increasing human population and anthropogenic pressures have severely affected coral distribution and biodiversity. Natural calamities cause considerable damage to the Coral Reef structures through direct and indirect means. Global warming leads to adverse impact on the survival of the Coral Reefs. The bleaching phenomenon of 1998 in the Indian Ocean is reported to have caused considerable damage to the Coral Reefs in the Indian Coast.

The following Coral Reef areas in the country have been identified for intensive conservation and management.

Management Action Plans submitted by the respective State Government / UTs were considered by the Ministry and financial assistance extended for the same during the current financial year. Ministry has also launched Indian Coral Reef Monitoring Network (ICRMN) so as to cover activities related to monitoring of health of Coral Reefs, training and capacity building, establishment of data base network and promote research on the identified thrust areas so as to integrate the same with the management of this fragile ecosystem.

Training programme for the forest officers in Andaman & Nicobar Islands was organized and similar training programmes for the remaining three identified Coral Reef areas have been planned. Ministry has also launched a web site of Indian Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Focal Points on the East and West Coast have been identified for collection, collation and retrieval of information related to Coral Reefs in the Country.

On the recommendation of the National Committee on Mangroves and Coral Reefs, the existing centre of Zoological Survey of India at Port Blair has been designated as the National Institute of Coral Reef Research. A status Reports on identified Coral Reef areas in the country along with a National and Regional Status Report were presented by a team of Scientists and experts during the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) held at Bali in Indonesia during October, 2000.

[Image]

Fig 32. Himalayan alpine meadows - unique biodiversity habitats

The Ministry has also been identified as the National Focal Point of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) as well as Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN). Representative of the Ministry participated in the Planning and Coordinating meetings of these International initiatives so as to share the knowledge and expertise related to conservation of Coral Reefs.

One PDF-B Project on management of Coral Reef ecosystem in Andamans supported by UNDP/GEF is in its concluding phase and a detail project document for the major project is being prepared.

Index

Biodiversity Conservation

‘Biodiversity’ is defined as the variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes of which they are part, including diversity within and between species and ecosystems. Biodiversity manifests at species, genetic and ecosystem levels. Biological diversity has direct consumptive value in food, agriculture, medicine and industry. It also has aesthetic and recreational value. Biodiversity maintains ecological balance and continues evolutionary processes. The indirect ecosystem services provided through biodiversity are photosynthesis, pollination, transpiration, chemical cycling, nutrient cycling, soil maintenance, climate regulation, air, water system management, waste treatment and pest control.

[Image]

Fig 33. Primula in Great Himalayan National Park

India is one of the 12 mega biodiversity countries of the world. From about 70% of the total geographical area surveyed so far, 46,000 plant species and 81,000 animal species have been described. India became a Party to the International Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in May 1994. The three objectives of Convention are the (i) conservation of biological diversity, (ii) sustainable use of components of biological diversity and (iii) fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.

The scheme on Biodiversity Conservation was initiated to ensure coordination among various agencies dealing with issues relating to conservation of Biodiversity and to review, monitor and evolve adequate policy instrument for the same.

Pursuant to India’s ratification of the CBD on 18th February 1994, steps have been initiated to meet the commitments/opportunities offered by it. The main implementation measures for the CBD are through national strategies, legislation and administrative instruments to be developed in accordance with each country’s particular conditions and capabilities.

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Fig 34. Cinnamomum chemungianum - a species from Western Ghats

Activities undertaken during the year are as follows:

Index

National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) Project

Adopting a consultative process with the stakeholders, a National Policy and Action Strategy on Biological Diversity has been drawn up as a macro-level statement of strategies, gaps and further actions needed for conservation, sustainable use and strategies and realisation of actual and potential value of biological diversity. Emphasising the need for conservation and analyzing provisions of the Convention, this macro-level policy identifies the basic goals and thrust areas and outlines action points for conservation and management of biodiversity.

[Image]

Fig 35. Ochlandra travancoric – a Gamble-endemic to South-Western Ghats

In order to prepare detailed micro-level action plans at state and regional levels based on the framework document, the Ministry has accessed funds from the Global Environment Facility for the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Project. The NBSAP project envisages assessment and stocktaking of biodiversity – related information at state level including distribution of endemic and endangered species and site specific threats and pressure. Key features of this project include an emphasis on decentralised state level planning, and the use of interdisciplinary working groups to involve all sectors concerned with biodiversity conservation. These detailed State level action plans will be consolidated and a national level action plan will be developed.

The Minister launched this project on 11th April 2000 and released the brochure ‘Call for Participation’. Executing agencies for the States, Thematic Working Groups, Eco-regions and Substate sites were identified. State Governments were requested to designate nodal agencies and constitute State Steering Committees. The first National Workshop for introducing the key participants to the process of NBSAP was held in June 2000. About 160 participants representing government agencies, non-governmental organisations, academicians etc. participated in the workshop. Several documents have been prepared to facilitate executing agencies in the preparation of Strategy and Action Plan. The second meeting of the Steering Committee was held on 13th November 2000. A website for the NBSAP project has been created and a bimonthly newsletter for NBSAP was released in October 2000.

Index

Legislation

India’s richness in biological resources and indigenous knowledge relating to them is well recognised. One of the major challenges is in adopting an instrument which helps realise the objectives of equitable benefit sharing enshrined in the Convention. Towards this, an outline of biodiversity legislation has been prepared which aims at regulating access to biological resources and making such access subject to terms and conditions which secure equitable sharing of benefits for the resources accessed.

After Cabinet’s approval in March 2000, extensive interactive sessions were held with Legislative Department for converting the outline of legislation into a Bill. After completing all procedural formalities, the Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 15th May 2000. The Bill has been referred to the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment and Forests for examination and report. A detailed presentation on the Bill was made before the Parliamentary Committee in August 2000. The Committee is currently recording the evidences and undertaking studies/visits to elicit the views of various stakeholders.

Index

[Image]

Fig 36. An endemic plant species (Ceropegia sahyadrica) from Maharashtra

Biosafety Protocol

Biosafety means minimising the potential risks to human health and environment from the handling and transfer of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) produced through modern biotechnology. Recognising the potential risks of LMOs, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) addressed this issue of biosafety in Articles 8 (g), 19.3 and 19.4. An Open-ended Ad-hoc Working Group under the aegis of CBD negotiated the protocol. The protocol was adopted during an extraordinary meeting of the Conference of Parties to the CBD in January 2000.

After the adoption of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a draft note for Cabinet seeking approval for signing the Protocol was prepared and circulated to concerned Ministries/Departments. Comments received were analysed, and the note revised. The revised note was submitted to the Cabinet in September 2000. The Cabinet in its meeting held in November, 2000 approved the proposal. India has signed the Protocol on 23-1-2001.

The CoP to the CBD established an Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biodiversity (ICCP). India was elected to represent Asia on the ten membered Bureau of ICCP. Dr. P.K. Ghosh, Adviser, Dept. of Biotechnology has been nominated to the ICCP Bureau. Two meetings of the ICCP Bureau were held so far in which India participated. India also participated in the first meeting of ICCP held in December, 2000.

Index

All India Coordinated Project on Taxonomy (AICOPTAX)

A sound taxonomic knowledge base is a prerequisite for environmental assessment, ecological research, effective conservation, management and sustainable use of biological resources. However, the taxonomic expertise is aging and declining in number, both nationally and globally when the need for a taxonomic stocktaking of the earth’s biodiversity is becoming increasingly important. In order to address this issue, the Ministry has launched an All India Coordinated Project on Taxonomy (AICOPTAX).

The fourth meeting to the Steering Committee was held in August 2000. Two new centres for research have been identified. During the year second instalment of the funds sanctioned last year was processed for nine Centres for ‘Research’ and two Centres for ‘Training’.

Index

Indian Institute of Biodiversity

The Institute is proposed to be set up at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh as an autonomous Institute under Societies Act to design and conduct research on various aspects of Biodiversity. The Institute will focus on biodiversity inventorisation, utilisation and conservation, study of the people’s knowledge, institution’s traditional practices and innovations about conservation and sustainable utilisation and dissemination, ecosystem management and eco-enterprise development. The activities of the Institute are proposed to be guided by a Governing Council and a Science Advisory Committee under overall supervision of the society. The memorandum of association and rules and regulations of the society and necessary financial approvals to start the scheme are being framed. Approval of the scheme from the Ministry of Finance is yet to be received.

Index

Assistance to Botanic Gardens

The scheme on Assistance to Botanic Gardens and Centres for ex-situ conservation was initiated in 1992 to augment ex-situ conservation of rare endemic plants. Under the scheme one time financial assistance is provided to the existing botanical gardens for improvement of their infrastructual facility. The achievements made in these Botanic Gardens is periodically evaluated through Botanical Survey of India and regional offices of the Ministry. The scheme helps in strengthening ex-situ conservation of rare endemic plants and providing education through network of existing Botanical Gardens. The scheme has been greatly appreciated.

[Image]

Fig 37. A view of Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah

The Ministry has constituted an Expert Group to identify and recommend proposals received under the scheme. The Botanical Survey of India helps in identification of rare endemic plants requiring ex-situ conservation and one hundred Botantial Gardens were provided financial support so far. During the year, the following institutions were provided financial support for improvement of infrastructure facility in their Botantial Garden.

Index

Medicinal Plants

Medicinal Plants has been identified as one of the thrust areas by the Ministry. The existing programmes encompassing activities in the area of medicinal plants have been augmented to carry out conservation of medicinal plants found in the forest and protected areas and also cultivation of medicinal plants in the degraded forest areas.

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Fig 38. Gesneraceae - a medicinal plant of Anaimalai Wildlife Sanctuary

Index

Task Force

A Task Force was constituted in the Planning Commission under the Chairmanship of Dr. D.N. Tiwari and the Ministry was represented in the meetings of the Task Force and provided inputs from time to time. As per the recommendation of the Task Force, the Ministry has submitted a comprehensive proposal on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants to the Planning Commission.

[Image]

Fig 39. Brahmi (Centrella asiatica) cultivated in a medicinal plant garden at Hyderabad

Index

In-situ and Ex-situ Conservation of Medicinal Plants

Index

Studies

Index

UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) since 14th October 1994 and it came into effect in India from 17th March 1997. The Convention’s main objective is to take appropriate measures for combating desertification and to mitigate the effects of drought in an integrated manner to achieve sustainable development. As on 10th December 2000, 172 countries have acceded / ratified the Convention.

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Fig 40. Acacia albida, utilized for stabilisation of sand dunes

Index

Implementation of the Convention at the National Level

Under the Convention , all affected Country Parties are to prepare a National Action Programme (NAP) for combating desrtification and drought in the country. India has also begun the process of preparation of the National Action programme and a high-level inter-sectoral National Steering Committee (NSC) has been set up under the Ministry, which is the National Focal point for implementation of the Convention, for the formulation and implementation of NAP. A National Action Programme (NAP) for combating desertification in the country is on the anvil. Four Working Groups had been constituted as per decisions of the National Steering Committee (NSC) for addressing various cross cutting areas, which have to be addressed in the NAP. The Reports of the four Working Groups were submitted during the year. A draft National Action Programme was also prepared using these reports. The reports as well as the draft National Action Programme were widely circulated to all relevant Central Ministries/Departments, R&D and other organisations, State Governments NGOs, etc. On the basis of responses, the draft is under revision, which would again undergo a second level of consultations in the two UNDP sponsored Regional Workshops to be held shortly. The Ministry is also holding a series of meetings/discussions with the relevant Ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural Development on the issues to be addressed in NAP. The final NAP would incorporate the views obtained from these consultations and will be ready soon.

Index

Implementation of the Convention at the Regional level

Under the Regional Action Programme (RAP) for Asia, six Thematic Programme Network (TPN) areas have been identified for regional co-operation amongst member parties in the Asian Region and to help the member parties strengthen their existing infrastructure for tackling the problems related to these areas. The programme is to launch in such a manner that the network will be sustaining at the end of the project period in all the member countries which participate in the network. The Programme is also expected to throw up ideas, identify gaps in knowledge, shortcomings in R&D and in exiting data and their applicability. India is the nodal country for hosting the TPN-2 namely, ‘Agroforestry and Soil conservation in the Arid, Semi-Arid and Dry Sub-Humid Regions in Asia". India launched TPN-2 on March14-15, 2000 at New Delhi followed by a field visit to Rajasthan organised by the nodal institution for TPN-2, namely the Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, during March 16-18, 2000. The launch was attended by delegates from 14 countries of the Asian Region and representatives of the CCD secretariat at Bonn as well as from the Regional Coordinating Unit at Bangkok. A large number of representatives from the New Delhi offices of international donor organisations such as UNDP,UNEP, GTZ, and donor countries representing the EU, Canada, etc. and representative of ADB also participated. The network is expected to forge and strengthen partnerships between the countries of Asia to address issues on land degradation.

Indian institutions would also similarly participate in the networks of five other focal areas as follows:

TPN-1	Desertification monitoring	Host country –
	and assessment	China
TPN-3 	Range and pasture 		Host country – 
	management in arid areas	Iran
	with particular emphasis 
	in controlling, shifting 
	sand dunes		
TPN-4 	Water resources 		Host country – 
	management for agriculture 	Syria
	in arid, semiarid and dry 
	sub-humid areas
TPN-5 	Drought preparedness and 	Host country –
	mitigation in the context of 	Mongolia
	climate	
TPN-6 	strengthening planning 		Host country – 
	capacities for drought 		Pakistan 
	management & controlling 
	desertification 

Index

Participation in International Events

During the year, India participated in the TPN-1 Workshop held on June 28-30 at Unu, Tokyo, Japan. China is the host for TPN-1, which addresses issues on Desertification Monitoring and Assessment under RAP in Asia. The Space Applications Centre (SAC), Department of Space, Ahmedabad which also participated in the Tokyo Workshop is the Technical Coordinator for establishing the TPN-1 network in India. India also participated in the Regional Symposium on Sustainable Development of Desert Communities (SDCC), held in Yazd, Iran during May 16-18,2000. India also participated in the Third Regional Meeting of the National Focal Points under the UNCCD and a two day workshop on financial resources held back-to-back at Bangkok during November 7-10,2000, as well as in the Fourth Conference of the Parties (CoP-4) to the UNCCD held at Bonn, during December 11-22, 2000. India as per the obligation under the Convention submitted the National Report on the implementation of the UNCCD in India for consideration at CoP-4. India also contributed to the UNCCD’s Core budget for the year 2000.

Index

Forest Conservation

[Image]

Fig 41. Shola forest of Western Ghats near Silent Valley

During the year, the Ministry received 1160 proposals from all the State/Union Territories for seeking approvals under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, for diversion of forest land for other purposes. The status of these 1160 cases are as follows:-

(i)	No. of proposals decided			711
	Between 0-3 months 				564
	Between 3-6 months 				106
	Between 6-12 months 				41
(ii)	Closed for non- furnishing of information 
	by State/ UT Govt.				09
(iii)	Proposals returned to/withdrawn by 
	State Govt.					29
(iv)	Proposals under process in the Ministry 	88
(v)	No. proposals pending with State Govts.
	for want of additional information 		323

In addition to the disposal of the above proposals received during the year, the number of approvals issued during the year 2000, including those of the previous years, are as follows:-

- 	Stage II approval 	921
- 	Stage I approval	391
- 	Rejected		69
	Total			1381 

State-wise status of proposals received during the period 1996-2000 is given in the Table-5.

Table-5

State wise status of all proposals received during 1996-2000

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S. 	State		No. of 		Sanctioned	Rejected	Rejected for 	Returned/	Under 		Pending with
no.			Proposals 					want of 	with drawn	consideration	states for 
			received					information	by states	of Ministry	want of
															information
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1	2		3		4		5		6		7		8		9
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.	Assam		214		35		30		0		142		7		0
2.	Arunachal 	23		21		0		0		1		1		0
	Pradesh
3.	Andhra Pradesh	122		71		28		8		4		5		6
4.	A. N. Island	15		10		0		0		0		2		3
5.	Bihar		125		72		3		34		3		5		8
6.	Dadra & Nagar 	107		78		0		5		0		2		22
	Haveli
7.	Gujarat		473		359		24		13		3		5		69
8.	Haryana		222		172		4		11		2		1		32
9.	Himachal 	314		151		18		44		6		5		90
	Pradesh	
10.	Manipur		5		4		0		0		1		0		0
11.	Meghalya	16		14		0		0		2		0		0
12.	Mizoram		11		6		1		0		0		2		2
13.	Chandigarh	10		6		0		0		0		0		4
14.	Delhi		3		0		0		0		1		0		2
15.	Goa		17		10		2		3		0		1		1
16.	Punjab		417		270		10		49		2		15		71
17.	Orissa		190		131		9		13		7		12		18
18.	MP		317		183		57		28		5		16		28
19.	Maharashtra	493		309		37		42		1		33		71
20.	Rajasthan	386		251		38		13		7		48		29
21.	Karnataka	182		91		23		37		3		3		25
22.	Kerala		46		22		3		12		1		1		7
23.	Tamil nadu	83		57		18		3		0		1		4
24.	Tripura		84		75		3		0		3		2		1
25.	Sikkim		14		13		0		0		0		1		0
26.	West Bengal	23		17		1		1		1		1		2
27.	Uttar Pradesh	888		718		35		23		23		5		84
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL			4800		3146		344		339		218		174		579
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Analysis

1. 	No. of proposals received.		4800
2. 	Net proposal received (col. 3-7)	4582
3. 	No. of proposals disposed (col. 4+5)	3490	 (76%)
4. 	Closed for non-furnishing of 
	information by the State Government	339	 (7%)
5. 	Under active process in the Ministry	174	 (4%)
6. 	Pending with State Government 
	for want of additional information	579	 (13%)

Index

Regional Offices of the Ministry

The primary functions of the Regional Offices of the Ministry are to monitor and evaluate the ongoing forestry projects and schemes with specific emphasis on conservation of forests and follows up action on the implementation of conditions and safeguards laid down by the Ministry while granting clearance to development projects under FCA/EPA. The Regional Chief Conservator of Forests are empowered to decide cases for diversion of forest land for non-forestry purpose upto the extent of 5 ha except mining and regularisation of encroachment. They have also been empowered to examine cases involving forest land 5 ha to 20 ha in consulation with the State Advisory Group (SAG).

The Ministry has six Regional Offices located at Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Shillong and Chandigarh with its headquarter unit in the Ministry at New Delhi. The Seventh Regional Office at Ranchi could not be made functional due to financial constraints. Details of the Regional Offices and their jurisdictions are given in Annexure – II

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Fig 42. Sal Forests in Corbett National Park

Region-wise target and achievement for monitoring of approved projects under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for the year 2000-2001 are given in Table-6.

Table-6

Statement Showing Region-wise Physical/Financial Targets and Achievements for Monitoring of Approved Project Under FCA 1980 and EPA 1986 for the Year 2000-2001

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Regional		Physical								    Financial
Offices		FCA (No. of Cases)	EPA(No. of Cases)	Site		No.of Cases	Target	    Achievement
		Target	Achivement	Target	Achievement	Inspection	approved		   (Rs. In Lakhs)
								Under FCA
								up to 5ha
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Banglore	190	115		75	225		15		43		60.30		42.47
Bhopal		160	67		75	52		57		233		66.10		43.03
Bhubneshwar	200	43		85	117		13		23		61.85		39.39
Lucknow		175	157		90	76		14		371		62.35		41.45
Shillong	85	12		40	-		29		19		56.85		34.50
Chandigarh	95	36		35	24		11		194		40.45		28.37
RO(HQ)	Administrative/Coordinating unit in the Ministry 					102.10		50.29	
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total		950	430		400	494		139		883		450.00		279.50
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Index

National Forestry Action Programme (NFAP)

The Ministry has formulated the National Forestry Action Programme a comprehensive strategic long term plan for the next twenty years to address the issue underlying the major problems of the forestry sector in line with the National Forest Policy, 1988. The objective of the NFAP is to bring one third of the area of the country under tree/ forest cover and to arrest deforestation for achieving sustainable development of forests.

The main components of the programme are :

The implementation of NFAP requires huge financial resources and the total investment estimate is Rs 1339 billions over the next twenty years. The availability of internal resources is inadequate. Efforts are being made to mobilize resources both from external and internal sources.

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Fig 43. Ornaments made from Shola wood generally used for decoration

The following steps were taken during the year in connection with the implementation of National Forestry Action Programme:

Index

Modern Forest Fire Control Methods

During the year the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Introduction to Modern Forest Fire Control Methods’ continued to be implemented with the following objectives:

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Fig 44. Gravillea robusta - in flowering

Under this scheme, 100% central assistance is provided to the States for capacity building to control forest fires. Assistance is provided mainly for following items:

This scheme was being implemented in eleven states of the country viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh and is now proposed to be extended to all states viz. Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan.

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Fig 45. Piper betel, of which a rich genetic diversity exists in Eastern India

The scheme was reviewed and the Air Operation Wing was considered to be inefficient and therefore is being closed down after the disposal of helicopters and other spare parts. Under the Central Sector, a strong component for data collection and monitoring of forest fires and involvement of JFM committees in the fire prevention and control measures is being undertaken. Forest fire danger rating systems and fire forecasting system will be evolved through Forest Survey of India. With the help of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education and other research organisations, losses on forest fire will be estimated. A national master plan for prevention and control of forest fires for the 10th Five Year Plan period with a total budget outlay of about Rs.600 crores has been prepared by the Ministry after detailed consultation with State Governments. With these changes, the scheme has been modified and renamed as ‘Forest Fire Control and Management’. The Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) meeting has approved an outlay of Rs. 40 crore during the 9th Five Year Plan and the funds are being released to all the States for fire prevention and control measures in identified fire prone forests areas. An estimated outlay of Rs 14 crore is being released during the current year to the States. The States have been issued national guidelines on forest fire prevention and control. Guidelines for prevention and control of forest fires have been issued to the States and measures have been suggested for creating an efficient fire prevention and control mechanism in the States. The guidelines include proposal for efficient implementation of Section 33 and Section 79 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. FAO has given consultancy for extension of technology for forest fire management and involvement of people in forest fire prevention and control.

Index

Infrastructure Development in the Northeast

To bridge the infrastructure gap in the Northeastern region, the Ministry has considered releasing funds to the States based on their project proposals. Assam and Tripura have already been released Rs. 7.25 crore and Rs. 5 crore respectively during the current year. The proposals of other States are under process and an amount of Rs 18.45 crores is expected to be released during the current financial year.

Index

Joint Forest Management (JFM)

The National Forest Policy, 1988 envisages people’s involvement in the development and protection of degraded forests as a permanent resource base to fulfil the requirements of fuelwood, fodder and small timber to local communities as well as to develop the forests for improving the environment.

In order to implement the policy prescription, the Ministry issued guideline on 1.6.1990 to involve the village communities in the development and protection of degraded forests on the basis of their taking a share of the usufruct from such areas. The concept of Joint Forest Management was accordingly initiated by developing appropriate mechanisms.

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Fig 46. The Great Indian Bustard

So far 26 States have issued resolution for JFM. As on 1.9.2000, 10.25 million ha of forest lands in the country are being managed and protected by 36165 Village Forest Protection Committees. The activities under JFM programme are monitored by the JFM Cell of the Ministry. The Ministry reviews this programme after wider consultation with all the stakeholders and issued further guidelines to the States for strengthening the programme on February 21,2000. The guidelines inter alia include providing legal backup to the JFM Committees, extension of JFM in good forest areas with sharper focus on activities concentrated on Non Timber Forest Produce(NTFP) management, increase participation of women, establishing conflict resolution mechanism, integration of micro plan with the working plan, contribution for regeneration of resources and monitoring and evaluation. In order to monitor the programme properly, a format for monitoring of the JFM is being prepared. JFM Nodal Officers have been appointed in the States for better coordination of the JFM work. A committee has also been constituted by the Ministry for preparing a JFM scheme for the 10th Five Year Plan in order to ensure long term success.

Index

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Fig 47. Pandanus odoratissimus at Botanical Garden in Sikkim

Wildlife Conservation

Various activities relating to wildlife conservation and implementation of National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) were carried out by the Ministry during the year. Details of such activities are as follows:

Index

Enforcement of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Import Export Policy

The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Export and Import Policy of India were continued to be enforced through the offices of the Regional Deputy Directors of Wildlife Preservation located at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai with the help of State Wildlife Department, the State Police Departments, the Customs Departments, BSF and Coast-Guards. Several cases of poaching of illegal trade in wildlife products were detected by the Regional Dy. Directors during the year.

During the year, ban on export of 29 species of plant, plant portions and their derivatives obtained from wild were continued. The export of six species of exotic birds were allowed for export subject to pre-shipment inspection. However, the export of Java Sparrow, which is included in Appendix II of CITES, export is allowed under licence subject to the provision to CITES and pre-shipment inspection.

Index

Control of Illegal Trade

Effective measures were taken for control of illegal trade in wildlife and its products at national and international level, both through the States/UTs as well as Regional Offices of Wildlife Preservation under this Ministry. The Subramanian Committee appointed to look into the issues related to illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products, has recommended several measures for strengthening anti-poaching infrastructure arrangements. Some of the major recommendations are:

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Fig 48. Rusa aristotelis – a target of the poacher for its horns

As per the decision of the "Special coordination and enforcement committee for strengthening measures for control of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife" under the Chairmanship of Secretary (E&F), and Special Secretary (Ministry of Home Affairs), Chairman (Central Board of Excise and Customs, Ministry of Finanace), Director (CBI) as members and Additional Director General (WL) as Member Secretary. The State/UT Governments were advised to set up State level/District level Coordination Committees to control poaching and illegal trade in Wildlife. The co-ordination Committees decided that a long-term strategy has to be formulated in collaboration with the CBI and other organisations to curb trade in wildlife and its products. The Central Government has also authorized CBI to file complaints with regard to offence punishable under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 in areas in their respective jurisdiction.

Index

Revision of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

In order to make implementation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 more effective, a Committee was set up to review it. The draft amendment Bill has been sent to Law Ministry for vetting before obtaining Cabinet approval.

Index

Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL)

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Fig 49. Danaus chrysippus chrysippus (Linn) – the plain tiger butterfly

The IBWL is the apex advisory body in the field of Wildlife Conservation in the country and is headed by the Honorable Prime Minister of India. A meeting of the Standing Committee of IBWL was held on 14.6.2000 under the Chairmanship of Minister for Environment and Forests. The Committee recommended to hold workshop on legal issues related to Wildlife conservation in each zone. It was also decided to set up a committee under the Chairmanship of the Director, Wildlife Protection, Ministry of Environment and Forests to prepare a revised guideline for wildlife research.

Index

Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries

There are 88 National Parks and 490 Wildlife Sanctuaries in the country covering an area of 1.53 lakha sq. kms. During the year, financial assistance for development of National Parks and Sanctuaries has been provided to 157 National Parks and Sanctuaries in 25 States (including 8 North-eastern state) and UT. Under the scheme, 100% Central Assistance is provided for non-recurring item of expenditure for National Parks and Sanctuaries where as 50% assistance is provided for recurring items of expenditure also in case of National Parks. From this year onwards, Protected Areas in mountains, deserts and coastal regions supporting large population of endangered species like snow leopard, red panda, rhino, sangai deer, pharys’ leaf monkey, musk deer, hangul, great indian bustard, chinkara and black buck have also become eligible for 100% central assistance for recurring item of expenditure.

Index

Project Tiger

Project Tiger was launched on April, 1973 on the basis of the recommendations of a special task-force of the Indian Board of Wildlife with the following main objectives:

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Fig 50. Tiger - the pride of Indian forests

At present there are 27 Tiger Reserves spreading over in 14 States and covering an area of about 37761 sq.km area. Details of various Tiger Reserves along with the location are given in Table-7.

Table-7

Name of the Tiger Reserves in Tiger Range States with year of Creation and Area

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Sl.	Year of		Name of Tiger Reserve	State			Total Area
No.	Creation							in Sq. Kms.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.	1973-74		Bandipur 		Karnataka 		866	
	1999-2000	Nagarhole (extension)				643	
2.	1973-74		Corbett			Uttar Pradesh		1316	
3.	1973-74		Kanha			Madhya Pradesh		1945	
4.	1973-74		Manas			Assam			2840	
5.	1973-74		Melghat 		Maharashtra		1677	
6.	1973-74		Palamau			Bihar			1026	
7.	1973-74		Ranthambhore		Rajasthan		1334	
8.	1973-74		Similipal 		Orissa			2750	
9.	1973-74		Sundarbans		West Bengal		2585	
10.	1978-79		Periyar			Kerala			777	
11.	1978-79		Sariska			Rajasthan		866	
12.	1982-83		Buxa			West Bengal		759	
13.	1982-83		Indravati		Madhya Pradesh		2799	
14.	1982-83		Nagarjunsagar		Andhra Pradesh		3568	
15.	1982-83		Namdapha		Arunachal Pradesh	1985	
16.	1987-88		Dudhwa			Uttar Pradesh		811		
	1999-2000	Katerniaghat (extension)			551	
17.	1988-89		Kalakad- Mundanthurai	Tamil Nadu		800	
18.	1989-90		Valmiki			Bihar			840	
19.	1992-93		Pench			Madhya Pradesh		758	
20.	1993-94		Tadoba-Andheri		Maharashtra		620	
21.	1993-94		Bandhavgarh		Madhya Pradesh		1162	
22.	1994-95		Panna			Madhya Pradesh		542	
23.	1994-95		Dampha			Miroram			500	
24.	1998-99		Bhadra			Karnataka		492	
25.	1998-99		Pench			Maharashtra		257	
26.	1999-2000	Pakhui-Nameri		Arunachal Pradesh-Assam	1206	
27.	1999-2000	Bori,Satpura,Panchmari	Madhya Pradesh		1486
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Total									37761
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Project Tiger is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. The States receive 100% financial assistance for non-recurring items and 50% for approved recurring items. An amount of Rs. 1349 lakhs has been released to the various Tiger Range States upto December, 2000.

Following major initiatives for implementation during IX plan have been approved by the Government :-

Index

Beneficiary Oriented Scheme for Tribal Development

This scheme was launched to re-habilitate the tribal and other families under relocation plan, to shift the families from inside the protected areas to outside. The main components are:

Under the scheme an amount of Rs. 246.00 lakh has been released (till Dec.2000) to the States for the relocation of tribal families.

Index

Eco-development Scheme in and around National Parks and Sanctuaries including Tiger Reserves

The scheme was launched to provide alternate sources of sustenance to the communities living at the fringes of National Parks and Sanctuaries including Tiger Reserve, to improve the ecological productivity of the buffer zones of protected areas through the involvement of these communities in protecting these Sanctuaries and National Parks and their wildlife; through a well designed package of activities aimed at providing sustenance to the forest side communities and ameliorating their hardships to minimize conflicts between those communities and the protection staffs.

The various activities undertaken under the scheme are:

An amount of Rs. 898.00 lakhs has been released during the year to various states under the scheme.

Index

India Eco-development Project

India Eco-development project is being implemented in Seven Protected Areas in seven different States as the externally aided Centrally Sponsored Plan Scheme under "Eco-development around Protected Areas including Tiger Reserves". It covers two National Parks and five Tiger Reserves. The estimated cost is Rs. 294.93 crores to be spent over a period of five years ending Dec. 2001. The main aim of the project is to conserve bio-diversity through eco-development, effective and extensive support for eco-development and preparation of future bio-diversity projects. The project is implemented in seven areas namely Buxa, Palamau, Nagarhole, Periyar, Pench, Ranthambore Tiger Reserves and Gir National Park.

An amount of Rs. 11.17 crores has been released till December, 2000 under the project.

Index

Project Elephant

Project Elephant was launched to assist states having free ranging population of wild elephant to ensure long term survival of identified viable populations of elephants in their natural habitats. States are being provoded financial as well as technical and scientific assistance in achieving the objectives of the Project.

[Image]

Fig 51. A herd of Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) seriously threatened species today

Main activities of Project are:

[Image]

Fig 52. Population of elephants in the country

During the year, an amount of Rs. 9.00 crores (Rs. 4.00 crores for North-Eastern States) was allocated to the elephant range states in order to provide financial assistance for habitat management, management of man- elephant conflict, payment of ex-gratia relief for loss of life etc., strengthening of anti-poaching measures, capture and translocation of problem elephant population etc. States like Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur were requested to conduct elephant census in their respective states.

Index

Wildlife Institute of India

Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was established in 1982 under the Ministry of Agriculture and subsequently brought to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The main mandate of this Institute is to impart training to government and non-government personnel, to carry out research and training activities and advise on matter of conservation and management of wildlife resources. WII became an autonomous Institute of the Ministry, with a 46 member WII Society headed by the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Government of India as its apex body. (The details of its research and education training activities are given in chapter 7 and 8 respectively).

Index

Central Zoo Authority

Central Zoo Authority (CZA) with its headquarter in New Delhi was established in 1992 under the provisions of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to upgrade the management of zoos in the country with the view to enhance their role in conservation . Central Zoo Authority consists of 10 members and one whole time Member Secretary and is chaired by the Minister, Environment and Forests, Government of India. Two committees namely ‘Administrative Committee’ under the Chairmanship of Director General of Forests and Technical Committee under the Chairmanship of Additional Director General of Forests (Wildlife) have been constituted for carrying out the functions of the Central Zoo Authority.

Main functions of the Central Zoo Authority are:

Details of activities undertaken by the Central Zoo Authority during the year are as follows:

With a view to upgrade the level of management particularly with respect to animal housing and veterinary health care facilities, 21 zoos in the country were provided financial assistance to the tune Rs. 421.90 lakhs.

The concerned zoos have been directed to beef up the security. Financial assistance to the extent of Rs. 21 lakhs has also been provided to Hyderabad Zoo for upgrading security arrangements.

Index

National Zoological Park, New Delhi

The National Zoological Park (NZP), New Delhi spread over an area of 176 acre and houses about 1200 animals and birds of 135 species. The effort at NZP is to maximise the visitor satisfaction by maintaining a healthy collection of a variety of endangered as well as common fauna.

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Fig 53. Handicapped children participating in painting competition organized by National Zoological Park, New Delhi

Details of activities undertaken by the NZP are as follow:

Index