3

CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES INCLUDING FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE

[Biosphere Reserves, Wetlands, Mangroves, Coral Reefs, Biodiversity Conservation, Biosafety Protocol, Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, All India Coordinated Project on Taxonomy, Medicinal Plants, Indian Institute of Biodiversity, Assistance to Botanical Garden, National Botanic Garden, Desertification, Forest Conservation, Regional Offices, National Forestry Action Programme, Forest Fire Control and Management, Joint Forest Management, Wildlife Conservation, Project Tiger, Project Elephant, Central Zoo Authority, National Zoological Park]


Index


Introduction

Several policy instruments have been enunciated and various action programmes have been introduced by the Ministry 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 national resources including forestry and wildlife.

Index

[Image]

Fig 25. An insectivorous plant (Drosera lunata) growing in grasslands of Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh

Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere Reserves are terrestrial and coastal ecosystems which are internationally recognized within the framework of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme and 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 designated by UNESCO. The world’s major ecosystem types and landscapes are represented in this Network, which is devoted to conserving biological diversity, promoting research and monitoring as well as seeking to provide models of sustainable development in the service of humankind.

Biosphere reserves are rich in biological and cultural diversity and encompass unique features of exceptionally pristine nature. 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.

In the country, 13 Reserves have been set up so far not only to protect representative ecosystems, but also to 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 under this programme.

In November, 2001, UNESCO approved designating the Sunderban (West Bengal) and Gulf of Mannar (Tamil Nadu) on the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. As a result three Biosphere Reserves from India are now included in the World Network, the third being Nilgiri (Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) which was designated earlier. Efforts are being made for getting other Biosphere Reserves included in this Network. This facilitates international recognition and attracts additional funding for these sites. Agasthyamalai Hills in Kerala comprising an area of 1701 sq.km. has been designated as 13th Biosphere Reserve on 12th November, 2001 The Government of Tamil Nadu is considering inclusion of the adjoining areas in this Biosphere Reserve. The Secretariat for Global Environment Facility (GEF) have approved for funding a special project for long term conservation and sustainable utilisation of the resources of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve.

The Ministry also 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 been completed during the year which have provided baseline data in scientific management of these Reserves. A number of new research projects were also initiated during the year. The details of the research projects sanctioned is given in Annexure III. A list of Biosphere Reserves set up so far alongwith their area and location is given in Table-2.

Table-2

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)		01.08.86		Part of Wynad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Mudumalai,
							Nilambur, Silent Valley and Siruvani Hills (Tamil Nadu, 
							Kerala and Karnataka) - Western Ghats	

2.	Nanda Devi (5,860.69)	18.01.88		Part of Chamoli, Pithoragarh & Almora Districts 
							(Uttranchal) - West Himalayas	

3.	Nokrek (820)		01.09.88		Part of Garo Hills (Meghalaya)- East Himalayas	

4.	Manas (2,837)		14.03.89		Part of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamrup 
							and Darang Districts (Assam) –East Himalayas	

5.	Sunderbans (9,630)	29.03.89		Part of delta of Ganges and Barahamaputra river system 
							(West Bengal) - Gigantic Delta	

6.	Gulf of Mannar (10,500)	18.02.89		Indian part of Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri 
							Lanka (Tamil Nadu) - Coasts 	

7.	Great Nicobar (885)	06.01.89		Southern most islands of Andaman and Nicobar (A&N 
							Islands) - Islands	

8.	Similipal (4,374)	21.06.94		Part of Mayurbhanj district (Orissa) - Deccan Peninsula

9.	Dibru-Saikhowa (765)	28.07.97 		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 Pradesh 
							– East Himalayas	

11.	Pachmarhi (4,926.28)	03.03.99		Part of Betul, Hoshangabad and Chindwara districts of 
							Madhya Pradesh - Semi-Arid-Gujarat Rajputana	

12.	Kanchanjunga (2,619.92)	07.02.2000		Parts of Kanchanjunga Hills in Sikkim –East Himalayas 

13.	Agasthyamalai (1701)	12.11.2001		Neyyar, Peppara and Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuaries
							and their adjoining areas in Kerala.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Index

Wetland Conservation Programme

Wetlands are lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic system where the water table is usually or near the water surface and land is covered by shallow water. They are life support systems for people living around and are effective in flood control, wastewater treatment, reducing sediment, recharging of aquifers and are also winter resort for variety of birds for shelter and breeding and provide a suitable habitat for fish and other flora and fauna. They also act as buffer against the devastating effect of hurricanes and cyclones, stabilize the shore-line and act as bulwark against the encroachment by the sea and check soil erosion. Apart from that, they are valuable for their educational and scientific interest and provide durable timber, fuelwood, protein rich fodder for cattle, edible fruits, vegetables and traditional medicines. Identification of wetlands can be attributed to the following three main factors, viz.,

Taking into consideration the deterioration of water bodies, a programme on conservation of wetlands was initiated in 1987 with the basic objective of assessment of wetland resources, identification of wetlands of national importance, promotion of R&D activities and formulation and implementation of management action plans of the identified wetlands which are at present 20 covering 13 States.

[Image]

Fig 26. A wild ‘nutmeg’ (Knema andamanica) - endemic to Andaman

For the sustainability of the programme, many significant initiatives have been undertaken within the Ninth Plan period which include preparation of management action plans for identified areas supporting conservation activities like survey and demarcation, catchment area treatment, desiltation, weed control, fisheries development, community participation, water, management, public awareness, pollution abatement etc. States Steering Committees have been constituted in all the concerned States under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary and having members from various subject matter departments relating to wetland conservation in the State. They also include NGOs, academicians and representatives of stakeholders, including member from the Ministry.

Some of the significant achievements of the programme are as follows:

The following thrust areas and activities have been identified for Xth Plan under the programme.

Training programmes/workshops for various wetland conservation components for senior managers/research organisations/policy makers/stakeholders in different parts of the country will be organised.

Index

[Image]

Fig 29. Common Cranes in the Pichavaram Mangrove

Mangroves

The Ministry launched a Scheme on Conservation and Management of Mangroves in 1986 by taking into consideration the ecological and economic significance of mangroves and threats faced by them due to various anthropogenic activities. Mangroves are salt tolerant plant communities occurring in sheltered coastal areas such as bays, estuaries, lagoons and creeks. On the recommendations of the National Committee on Mangroves and Corel Reefs, 32 Mangrove areas in the country have been identified for intensive conservation and management. Grants are released to the respective state Governments/ Union Territories for implementation of Management Action Plans on the identified Mangrove areas. Main activities include afforestation, regeneration of degraded mangrove areas, protection measures, certain eco-developmental activities so as to reduce pressure on the Mangrove ecosystem and education and awareness related to conservation of this fragile ecosystem. Research activities on the identified thrust areas through the identified nodal institutions along the respective mangrove areas are encouraged so as to integrate the same with the management.

A Sub-Committee constituted by the Ministry for formulation of guidelines for implementation of Management Action Plans on Mangroves decided the cost norms for plantation of mangroves in various States. National Committee on Mangroves and Coral Reefs during its meeting held in June, 2001 endorsed the recommendations of the Sub Committee. Accordingly, Management Action Plans for the following Mangrove areas have been considered by the Ministry and financial assistance extended to the respective States:

-	Andhra Pradesh : 	Coringa, Krishna and East Godavari

-	Orissa:			Mahanadi and Devi

-	Tamil Nadu : 		Pichavaram, Muthupet, Ramnad and Kazhuveli

-	Goa :			Goa

-	A & N Islands :		North Andamans and Nicobar 

-	Karnataka :		Coondapur and Honnavar 

-	West Bengal :		Sunderbans

Unspent grants released to the following States for implementation of Management Action Plans during the preceding years for the respective mangrove areas have also been revalidated:

-	Gujarat :		Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of Khambat 

-	West Bengal :		Sunderbans

-	Orissa :		Mahanadi, Devi and Subernarekha 

Maharashtra :Devgarh, Vaitarna, Mumbra,

Shreevardhan, Kundalika and Vasa

National Mangrove Genetic Resource Centre has been established at Bhitarkanika in Orissa.

A draft national action plan on Mangroves and Strategy for its implementation to ensure community participation in conservation of mangroves has been prepared by the Ministry. This Action Plan along with the guidelines on Joint Forest Management prepared by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai were circulated to all the concerned State Governments/UTs for their comments. National Committee also reviewed the progress of implementation of Management Action Plans on the respective Mangrove areas. Monitoring visits to Andaman Nicobar Islands, Sunderbans (West Bengal), Pichavaram and Muthupet (Tamil Nadu), Coringa and East Godavari (Andhra Pradesh) and identified Mangrove areas in Maharashtra were made for evaluation of the progress in the field. Research Sub Committee on Mangroves and Coral Reefs reviewed progress on the ongoing research projects and recommended new projects on identified thrust areas as per Annexure III.

Web sites on Mangroves and Coral Reefs have been launched and steps for establishment of Data Base Network with Focal Point on the East and West Coast along with other network partners in the country have also been initiated.

Index

[Image]

Fig 30. Flourishing of Acropora spp. in the Gulf of Mannar

Coral Reefs

Coral Reefs are massive limestone structures 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 carbonate. They provide many natural raw materials of pharmacological importance including the life saving drugs and are diverse and vulnerable ecosystems characterized by a complex inter-dependents of plants and animals.

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 Lakshadweep Archipelago.

Taking into consideration the traditional uses of Coral Reefs resulting into anthropogenic threats the following Coral Reef areas in the country have been identified for intensive conservation and management:

Management Action Plans on Coral Reefs submitted by the respective State Governments/ 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 & capacity building , establishment of data base network, promote research on the identified thrust areas so as to integrate the same with the management of this fragile ecosystem.

Research Sub Committee on Mangroves and Coral Reefs reviewed progress of the ongoing research projects and recommended two new projects on the identified thrust areas on Coral Reefs. List of these projects are given in Annexure III.

Apart from organizing the training programme the Ministry has also launched a Web site of Indian Coral Reef Monitoring Network. 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. Planning and Coordination meeting of the Network partners had been organized at Chennai to develop the protocols for collection, collation and processing and sharing of data on the Web Site.

The existing centre of Zoological Survey of India at Port Blair has been designated as the National Coral Reef Research Institute.

The Ministry has also been identified as the National Focal Point of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) as well as Coral Reef Degradation in Indian Ocean (CORDIO). India- Australia Training and Capacity Building Project on Coral Reefs with Aus-Aid has also been launched.

Index

Biodiversity Conservation

[Image]

Fig 31. Amla (Emblica officinalis) - rich in Vitamin C

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. It has direct consumptive value in food, agriculture, medicine, industry apart from aesthetic and recreative 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.

India is one of the 12 mega biodiversity countries of the world. From about 70% of the total geographical area surveyed so far, about 46,000 plant species and 81,000 animal species have been described. India become a Party to the International Convention on Biological Diversity in May 1994. The three objectives of the Convention are :

The scheme on Biodiversity Conservation was initiated during 1991-92 to ensure coordination among various agencies dealing with issues relating to conservation of biodiversity and to review, monitor and evolve adequate policy instruments for the same. 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.

Activities undertaken during the year are as follows:

Index

[Image]

Fig 32. Great Himalayan National Park

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 realization of actual and potential value of biological diversity. Emphasizing the need for conservation and analysing 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.

In order to prepare detailed microlevel 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 pressures. Key features of this project include an emphasis on decentralized state level planning and the use of interdisciplinary working groups to involve all sectors concerned with biodiversity conservation. In all, 74 Executing agencies are presently preparing action plans at four levels: local, state, ecoregional and thematic, which will be consolidated and developed into a national level action plan. NBSAP is India’s largest development and planning exercise on environment based on a highly participatory approach. Apart from organising a Mid-term National Workshop in June 2001, to review the progress and sharing of experience other major activities undertaken during the year include:

Information on NBSAP project can be accessed through the website: http://sdnp.delhi.nic.in/nbsap.

[Image]

Fig 33. Sarus Crane - the only resident crane of India

Index

Legislation

India’s richness in biological resources and indigenous knowledge relating to them is well recognized. One of the major challenges is in adopting an instrument which helps realize the objectives of equitable benefit sharing enshrined in the Convention. Towards this, a legislation on biodiversity was developed following an extensive consultative process. The legislation aims at regulating access to biological resources so as to ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. The Biological Diversity Bill, which was introduced in the Parliament on 15th May 2000, was referred to the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee for Science, Technology, Environment & Forests for examination and report. The Committee continued examination of witnesses and recording evidences, and undertook study visit to Jammu & Kashmir in April 2001. The Committee completed the clause-wise discussions on the Bill and approved the Bill with some amendments. The Committee presented its Report to the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha on 4.12.2001. Further action to move the motion for passing of the Bill is being taken.

Index

Biosafety Protocol

Biosafety means minimizing the potential risk 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. So far 105 countries have signed the Biosafety Protocol, of which eight countries have ratified it. India signed the protocol on 23.1.2001. During the year an exercise also has been initiated to ratify the Protocol.

Index

[Image]

Fig 34. Teak (Tectona grandis) in flowers

Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC)

The biosafety regulatory framework in India consists of the ‘Rules for the manufacture, use, import, export and storage of hazardous micro-organisms/genetically engineered organisms or cells notified under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 by the Ministry.

The biosafety regulatory framework covers the entire spectrum of activities relating to research, development and use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their products. The 1989 Rules also lay down the institutional framework for regulating activities relating to use of GMOs in India. As per the rules, two central committees are established; research is to be overseen by the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) established under the DBT. Approvals for large scale releases and commercialization of GMOs are given by the Genertic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), established under the Ministry. In addition to these two central committees, the 1989 Rules mandate that every institution engaged in GMO research establish an Institutional Biosafety Committee to oversee such research and to interface with the RCGM in regulating it. Besides, state Biotechnology Coordination Committees are to be set up in each state, together with District level Committees, to ensure that there is a process of monitoring and information exchange between districts, states and the central government in regulating GMO activities.

So far, GMO use in India has been regulated only in contained conditions for research purposes, with a few deliberate releases into the environment in the form of import, manufacture and marketing of several pharmaceutical products, and experimental field trials for some transgenic crops. Assessments and approvals relating to the other activities and products covered by the biosafety regulations such as large scale releases, commercialization of GMOs or their products, or food safety assessments of processed materials containing GMOs have not yet been required, since no GMO for use in agriculture has as yet reached those stages of development.

In order to handle the issues relating to human health and environment from transgenic crops and other areas the composition of GEAC was expanded to include representatives from DARE, Deptt. of Agriculture & Cooperation, CSIR, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Food Processing & Industries.

Index

[Image]

Fig 35. Heronry at tree top

All India Coordinated Project on Taxonomy (AICOPTAX)

In order to address a sound taxonomic knowledge base for environmental assessment, ecological research, effective conservation, management and sustainable use of biological resources, the Ministry had launched an All India Coordinated Project on Taxonomy (AICOPTAX) earlier.

During the year, the fifth meeting of the Steering Committee of AICOPTAX was held and it was decided that the Coordinating Units and Collaborating Units for Orchids and Diptera will be made effective . One more Collaborating Unit for Fungi was approved at the University Department of Botany, T.M Bhagalpur University. The Committee also decided to establish National Chairs on Taxonomy on the lines of Pitamber Pant Fellowship.

Index

[Image]

Fig 36. Clerodendrum colebrookianum - a medicinal plants needs conservation

Medicinal Plants

Medicinal Plants are identified as one of the thrust areas by the Ministry. The existing programmes encompassing activities in the area of medicinal plants have been continued 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.

In-situ and Ex-situ Conservation of Medicinal Plants

Index

Indian Institute of Biodiversity

The Institute is proposed to be set up at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh as an autonomous Institute to design and conduct research on various aspects of Biodiversity. The Institute will focus on biodiversity inventorisation, utilization and conservation, study of the people’s knowledge, institution’s traditional practices and innovations about conversation and sustainable utilization 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 proposal is awaiting approval of the Government.

Index

Assistance to Botanical Gardens

The scheme on assistance to Botanical Gardens and Centers for ex-situ conservation was initiated in 1992 to augment ex-situ conservation of rare endemic plants. One time financial assistance is provided to the existing botanical gardens for improvement of their infrastructural facilities to augment ex-situ conservation of rare endemic plants. The achievements made in these Botanical Gardens are periodically monitored with the help of Botanical Survey of India and regional offices of the Ministry.

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. During the year following institutions were provided financial support for improvement of infrastructure facility in their Botanical Garden.

Index

Establishment of National Botanic Garden at Noida-Delhi

A National Botanic Garden at Noida- Delhi was earlier decided to be set up by the Ministry to facilitate ex-situ conservation and propagation of threatened/endangered plants of the country to serve as a ‘centre of excellence’ for research and training, to cater to the conservation needs of the endangered species in the region and to build public awareness on the conservation needs through education on conservation of plant diversity. The scheme has been identified as a "Green Channel" project under the National Jai Vigyan Science & Technology Mission of the Ministry of Science & Technology for expeditious processing. The rationale for development of a Botanic Garden at NOIDA- Delhi stems from the urgent need for a conservation-oriented garden in the country. Setting up of the National Botanic Garden at NOIDA-Delhi aims at consolidating India’s plant conservation efforts in a major way as well as help India to fulfill its obligations as signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (June, 1992).

The project with an outlay of Rs. 3777.85 lakhs, has been approved for implementation in the Tenth Five-Year period in its EFC meeting held on 17.1.2002. The National Botanic Garden will now be set up as part of the Botanical Survey of India, an organization of the Ministry. The NOIDA would contribute by way of deploying ministerial staff and other logistical support.

Index

UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Desertification is one of the major global environmental problems which has direct impact on the living standards of the inhabitants of the affected areas in terms of decreased food output, depletion of natural resources and deterioration of the environment.

The objective of UN Convention to combat desertification is primarily to enhance food security, to eliminate poverty, and to improve socio-economic development with a focus on sustainable development which makes it highly relevant in the context of the problems faced by all affected developing Countries, who are Parties to the Convention. India is a signatory to the UNCCD since 14th October 1994. The Ministry is the National Coordinating Body for the implementation of the Convention in the country.

[Image]

Fig 37. Screw-pine in a botanical garden in Sikkim

Index

Implementation of the Convention at the National Level

The focus of the Convention is on initiation of long-term integrated strategies which will promote the objective of conservation and protection of the environment, in terms of afforestation, improved productivity of land, conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources leading to improved living conditions, particularly at the community level. Thus the Convention addresses issues such as environmental conservation, agricultural productivity, sustainable energy and fodder production, developmental activities for local communities and their rehabilitation in degraded land and other cross sectoral issues such as health, literacy and socio-cultural development, employment opportunities to improve the living standards of the people.

An important obligation of all affected developing Country Parties is the formulation of a National Action Programme (NAP) to Combat Desertification. In this direction, the Ministry had constituted a High-level Inter-sectoral National Steering Committee (NSC) with members representing the major Ministries, Departments and organisations of the Government, R&D institutions, NGOs and the Planning Commission. The following four working groups were constituted under the National Steering Committee (NSC) to prepare the NAP:

A two- volume National Programme pertaining to Status Report on Desertification and National Action Programme have been prepared and submitted to the CCD Secretariat during the Fifth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-5) to the UNCCD held in Geneva during October 1-12, 2001.

A two-days National Workshop on National Action Programme (NAP) to Combat Desertification in the country in the context of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was held in Bangalore during 18-19th February, 2002. The workshop was the first in the series with a view to finalise the NAP relating to sustainable development of degraded arid, semi arid and dry sub-humid regions of the country by way of short term and long term strategies. The workshop was attended by the policy makers and other senior functionaries from seven States of the country’s Southern, Central and Eastern Region. The workshop was intended to enable the Ministry to prepare a perspective NAP through a broad based consultative and interactive process with the participating States for posing to the multilateral and bi-lateral donor agencies besides sensitizing and familiarising the State level functionaries on the broad objectives and frame work of the UNCCD.

Index

[Image]

Fig 38. Water stress studies of Acacia nilotica in arid zone

Regional Action Programme (RAP) for Asia under the UNCCD

Six thematic programme areas were identified for networking amongst member parties of Asia which are:

TPN-1:Desertification Monitoring & Assessment.

TPN-2:Agro-forestry Management & Soil Conservation in arid, semi-arid & dry sub-humid areas.

TPN-3:Range & pasture management in arid areas with particular emphasis in controlling shifting sand dunes.

TPN-4:Water Resources Management for agriculture in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.

TPN-5:Drought Preparedness & Mitigation in the context of climate change.

TPN-6:Strengthening planning capacities for drought management & controlling desertification.

Network on Agro-forestry and Soil Conservation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid Regions in Asia

India is host to TPN-2 and the Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) is the nodal institution for the implementation of TPN-2 in Asia. TPN-2 was earlier launched with representatives of 14 countries from the Asian region, donor countries, international agencies, etc.,

A Regional Workshop was organized on TPN-2 by the Ministry during December 18-21, 2001 with the support of the UNCCD Secretariat, Global Mechanism and the Government of Germany at the International Research Centre for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad. Experts from 14 countries of the Asian region including prominent national level institutions of India participated in the Workshop. The programme has identified gaps in knowledge, shortcomings in R&D and in existing data and their applicability in the area of soil conservation and use of agro-forestry. The network is being developed to help the member countries to strengthen their existing infrastructure and capacity for tackling the problems relating to land degradation through appropriate interventions in area of soil conservation and agro-forestry.

Index

Forest Conservation

Ministry had received 103 proposals (forest land involved more than 20 ha.) from all the States/Union Territories during the year for seeking approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, for diversion of forest land for other purposes. The status of these 103 cases are as follows:-

(i)     No. of proposals decided = 54
	(a)Approved – 14
	(b)Stage-I approval –37
	(c)Rejected-3

(ii)	Closed for non-furnishing of information by State/UT Govt.		02

(iii)	Proposals returned to/withdrawn  by State Government 		10

(iv)	Proposals under process in the Ministry				16

(v)	No. of proposals pending with State Government for want of 
additional information							21

In addition to the disposal of the above proposals the number of decisions issued during the year 2001, including those of the previous years, are as follows:-

-	Stage II approval 				77
-	Stage I approval 				41
-	Rejected /closed for want of information	69
							187

Index

Regional Offices of the Ministry

The Regional Offices of the Ministry primarily monitor and evaluate the ongoing forestry projects and schemes with specific emphasis on conservation of forests and follow 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 purposes upto the extent of 5 ha except mining and regularization of encroachment. They have also been empowered to examine cases involving forest land 5 ha to 20 ha in consultation with the State Advisory Group (SAG).

The Ministry at present 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.

Region-wise target and achievement for monitoring of approved projects under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and EPA 1986 for the year 2001-2002 are given in Table-3.

Table-3

Statement Showing Region-wise Physical/Financial Targets and Achievements for Monitoring of Approved Project Under FCA 1980 and EPA 1986 for the Year 2001-2002

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 20 ha
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bangalore	190	132		75	179		15		25		53.00	37.39

Bhopal		160	120		75	50		57		35		56.00	38.53

Bhubaneswar	200	93		85	82		14		200		54.55	42.71

Lucknow		175	165		90	99		14		219		55.05	40.44

Shillong	130	30		40	40		29		15		49.45	37.99

Chandigarh	95	25		35	20		11		89		38.25	33.03

RC (HQ)		Administrative/ Coordinating unit in the Ministry					83.70	44.08
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total		950	565		400	470		140		583		390.00	274.17
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Index

[Image]

Fig 39. A view of Dry Evergreen Forest

National Forestry Action Programme (NFAP)

The NFAP is a comprehensive strategic long term plan for the next twenty years to address the issues 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 areas of the country under forest/tree cover and to arrest de-forestation for achieving sustainable development of forests.

The following steps were taken during the year for implementation of NFAP:

Index

Forest Fire Control and Management

During the year, the Centrally Sponsored Scheme "Introduction to Modern Forest Fire Control Methods" was reviewed after an evaluation was carried out by an independent agency. Taking into account the recommendations of the evaluation agency, the scheme has been recast and renamed as "Forest Fire Control and Management". The scheme is being presently implemented in all the states with the following components:

State Sector

Central Sector

The scheme is being implemented with the following objectives:

The Air Operation Wing is being closed down.

Index

Infrastructure Development in the Northeast

To bridge the infrastructure gap in the Forestry Sector in the Northeastern region, the Ministry considered releasing funds to the States based on their project proposals. Proposals from all the Northeastern states and Sikkim were processed and funds were released during the year as given in Table-4.

Table-4

				    (Rs. lakhs)
-----------------------------------------------
S.No.	State			Funds released
-----------------------------------------------
1	Arunachal Pradesh	676.10

2	Assam			100.00

3	Meghalaya		505.00

4	Manipur			171.72

5	Mizoram			500.00

6	Sikkim 			391.50

7	Tripura			571.00

8	Nagaland		336.68
-----------------------------------------------
Total				3252.00
-----------------------------------------------

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 fuel wood, 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 the Joint Forest Management was accordingly initiated by developing appropriate mechanisms.

[Image]

Fig 40. Champa (Michelia champaca) in flower in a garden at J&K

So for 27 States have issued resolution for JFM. As on 1.12.2001, 14.25 million ha of forest lands in the country are being managed and protected by 63,000 JFM Committees. The activities under JFM programme are monitored by the JFM Cell of the Ministry. The Ministry reviewed this programme after wider consultation with all the stakeholders and issued further guidelines to the States for strengthening the programme. The guidelines inter-alia include providing legal backup to the JFM Committees, extension of JFM to good forest areas with sharper focus on activities concentrated on Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) management, increased participation of women, establishing conflict resolution mechanisms, 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 has been prepared and circulated to all the states. JFM Nodal Officers have been appointed in all the States for better coordination of the JFM work.

A committee was also constituted by the Ministry for preparing a JFM scheme for the 10th Five Year Plan in order to ensure long term success. The scheme will be implemented through Forest Development Agencies.

A JFM network is also operational under the Chairmanship of Director-General, Forests. To get the views and feedback from all the stakeholders, a forum has been setup by the stakeholders to provide a channel of information for the network. The forum is run by the NGOs and provides feedback to this Ministry in this regard.

Index

Wildlife Conservation

Various activities relating to wild life conservation and implementation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 were carried out by the Ministry during the year. The details are as follows:

Index

Enforcement of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Export – Import 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, Kolkata and Chennai with the help of State Wildlife departments, the state police departments, BSF and Coast Guards. The Regional Dy. Directors detected several cases of poaching of illegal trade in wildlife products during the year.

[Image]

Fig 41. Butea monosperma - Minor Forest Produce in some parts of India

During the year, ban on export of 29 species of plant, plant portions and their derivatives obtained from wild were continued. Export of six species of exotic birds was continued subject to pre shipment inspection and CITES permit wherever required.

During recent years, exploitation of sharks, rays, groupers and holothurians have increased due to its demand for its parts and derivatives including human consumption in the international market especially in South-Asian and for Eastern countries. Sea cucumbers have been harvested by locals and foreigners due to their high commercial values. Since, corals are also a major component of marine eco-system, decline in the coral population over the years has adversely affected of the other marine species. In view of this, the Ministry has, in consultation with scientific institutions and experts working in this field, included the following marine species under the purview of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972:

Index

Control of Illegal Trade

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), the State/UT Governments were advised to set up State level/District level Coordination Committees to control poaching and illegal trade in wildlife. Accordingly, 17 States/UT’s have set up State level/District level coordination committees. Regular meetings of the Special coordination and Enforcement Committee were held.

A Tiger Enforcement Task Force meeting was held in April, 2001 to work out a strategy for controlling illegal trade in tiger parts and products. During the meeting it was decided to organise training courses at international level at the S.V.P. National Police Academy on intelligence gathering, search, anti-poaching operation, evidence, etc, in July, 2002. The training programme would be attended by nine tiger range States viz; Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Vietnam and India. The training programme would be an ongoing process.

Index

[Image]

Fig 42. Nilgiri Tahr - an endangered species

Revision of Wildlife ( Protection) Act, 1972

In order to make the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 more effective, a draft Bill to amend the Act has been prepared. The Bill has been vetted by the Law Ministry. It is proposed to introduce the Bill in the Parliament during the Budget Session, 2002.

Index

Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL)

The IBWL is the apex advisory body in the field of Wildlife Conservation in the country and is headed by the Honourable Prime Minister of India. It has been reconstituted w.e.f 7.12.2001. The XXI meting of the IBWL was held on 21.1.2002 under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Prime Minister at New Delhi and the following resolutions were adopted :

Index

National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP)

The first National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) of 1983 has been revised and the new Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016) has been adopted. The plan outlines the strategies, action points and the priority projects for conservation of wild fauna and flora in the country. The following strategies has been outlined keeping in view the threats due to biotic pressure and change in consumption pattern.

Index

[Image]

Fig 43. Indian Jujube (Ziziphus mauritiana) at Madhav

Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries

There are 89 National Parks and 497 Wildlife Sanctuaries in the county covering an area1.56 lakh sq.km. During the year, financial assistance for Development of National Parks was provided to 180 National Parks and Sanctuaries to 28 States including North-Eastern States and two UTs. Under this scheme 100% Central Assistance is provided for non-recurring items of expenditure for National Parks and Sanctuaries whereas 50% assistance is provided for recurring expenditure also in case of National Parks. From 2001-02 onward, 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. The amount provided as financial assistance under the Schemes during 2001-02 is Rs. 2342.068 lakhs (including North East).

Index

[Image]

Fig 44. Tiger - a viable population to be maintained for ecological values

Project Tiger

Project Tiger is a Centrally Sponosored Scheme. The States receive 100% financial assistance for non-recurring items of work and 50% of financial assistance for approved recurring items of work. For 2001-02, an amount of Rs. 19.00 crores has been allocated under the scheme including Rs. 2.00 crores for North Eastern States including Sikkim. An amount of Rs. 18.35 crores has been released to the various Tiger Range State including Rs. 1.35 crores for North- eastern States as on December, 2001.

Presently there are 27 Tiger Reserves spread over 14 States and covering an area of about 37761 sq. Km. Details of various Tiger Reserves alongwith their location are given in Table-5. Following major initiatives are being undertaken.

Table-5

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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		Sunderbans			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				Mizoram			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
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total										37761
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Creation of six new Tiger Reserves

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Beneficiary/Oriented Scheme for Tribal Development Objectives and Components

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

During the year an amount of Rs. 4.00 crores has been released. It has been proposed to merge this scheme with the Project Tiger for Tiger Reserve areas.

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 Reserves, 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 these communities and the protection staff.

The various activities undertaken in the scheme are:-

An amount of Rs. 15.25 crores excluding Rs. 4.00 crores for North Eastern States including Sikkim has been approved during the year. Against this amount Rs. 15.15 crores and Rs. 4.00 crores have been released. During the Xth Five Year Plan, it has been proposed to merge this scheme with the Project Tiger for Tiger Reserve areas.

Index

India Eco-development Project

India Eco-development Project is being implemented in Seven Protected Areas in seven different States as an 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 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 being implemented in seven areas namely Buxa, Palamau, Nagarhole, Periyar, Pench, Ranthambore Tiger Reserves and Gir National Park.

An amount of Rs. 40.00 crores has been approved for States during 2001-02 and the whole of this amount has been released till December, 2001.

Index

Project Elephant

Project Elephant was launched in February, 1992 to assist states having free ranging populations of wild elephants to ensure long term survival of identified viable populations of elephants in their natural habitats. The Project is being implemented in 12 states, viz. Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal and West Bengal. States are being given financial as well as technical and assistance in achieving the objectives of the Project.

Main Activities of Project Elephant are

Index

Wildlife Institute of India (WII)

The main mandate of WII is to impart training to government and non-governmental personnel, to carry out research and advise on matters of conservation and management of wildlife resources. WII became an autonomous Institute of the Ministry in 1986 and presently has a 49 member WII Society, headed by the Union Minister for Environment & Forests, Government of India, as its apex body. (The details of its research, education and training activities are given in Chapter 7&8 respectively).

Index

Central Zoo Authority

[Image]

Fig 45. One horned Rhino at Patna Zoo

Central Zoo Authority (CZA) established in 1992 under the provisions of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 consists of 10 members and one whole time Member Secretary and is Chaired by the Honourable Minister of Environment and Forests. 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 performed by the Central Zoo Authority during the year are as follows:

Quick appraisal of Major Zoos in the Country

Teams of Zoo Experts and Veterinarians were constituted to appraise and assess the adequacy or otherwise of veterinary standards and health care obtaining in zoos in the country as also to suggest ways and measures for upgrading these, wherever considered necessary.

The appraisal by the expert teams revealed that immediate action was required to address deficiencies in the veterinary standards and health care facilities in some of the zoos. The appraisal reports also revealed that some of the zoos were non-viable at their present site and should either be relocated to alternate site or closed down. The concerned zoo management and the respective chief Wildlife Wardens have been asked to take remedial steps accordingly. Hon’ble Minister (E&F) who is also the Chairman of Central Zoo Authority has also requested the Chief Ministers of the concerned states to ensure that resources are utilized for modernization of existing dingy zoos into naturalistic zoos and where this is considered not possible, the zoos may either be shifted to alternative sites with suitable master planning, or closed.

Amendment to the Recognition of Zoo Rules

Amendments of the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 1992 have been made by taking into consideration the provisions of better housing facilities for the animals, providing minimum area of enclosure for important species and re-defining the norms of classification of zoos and the need for having technically qualified personnel for management of zoos on scientific lines.

Rescue Centres

Ministry had assigned the responsibility to Central Zoo Authority for creation of rescue centres for rehabilitation of circus animals. Five rescue centres were identified for creation at Chennai, Visakhapatnam. Tirupati, Bannerghatta (Bangalore) and Nahargarh (Jaipur) Four rescue centres have already been established. The Central Zoo Authority has so far released Rs. 726.75 lakhs for the development of these rescue centres. One hundred and fifteen lions and tigers from 13 circuses have already been received by the rescue centres at Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and Bangalore. The Authority has released Rs. 96.40 lakhs towards the feeding and health care for these animals.

Training Courses

Workshops and Conferences

Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species

The project has been assigned to the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad with financial assistance from CZA and Deptt. of Biotechnology. The Hon’ble Minister of Environment & Forests/Chairman, CZA laid the foundation stone of the Laboratory on 16.9.2001.

Stud Book

Publications

Index

National Zoological Park

The National Zoological Park (NZP), New Delhi set up in 1959 spreads over an area of 176 acre and houses about 1200 animals of 136 species. The mission of the NZP is to foster understanding, knowledge, research, care of and appreciation for our wildlife through appropriate means.

The effort at NZP is to maximize the visitors satisfaction by maintaining a healthy collection of a variety of endangered as well as common fauna. Various activities undertaken by the NZP are as follows:

Index