Bio-Diversity

Ways to dialogue

Posted by Himani Kala on December 12, 2012

 
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Ways to Dialogue..........

Annual river in Kumbhalgarh WLS
I do not know how to express my view today….I was in the field “Kumbhalgarh WLS” to share our research findings with local community called “Raika”. Raika is a community whose main occupation is livestock rearing especially sheep and goat rearing and they are traditionally dependent on the forest for their need.


View of Aravalli Hills


Garasia Tribal

Raika community









                            This workshop cum field visit was organized by an NGO called “Lok-hit Pashu Palak Sansthan (LPPS) that is working with Raikas for the welfare of this community in the vicinity of Kumbhalgarh WLS. Then being with Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) (presently with Green Future Foundation, GFF) my colleague and I was asked to share our research as well as “what we are doing inside and outside the protected areas for the benefit of local communities and on conservation aspect”.  Other participants were from Kalpvriksh (NGO from Pune) and Sahjeevan (NGO from BHuj-Kachchh) along with few members of Maldhari community from Banni Grassland (Kachchh- Gujarat). This Maldhari community was invited to share their views about the conservation of grasslands in extreme western part of country. Apart from this they did share their notion about Forest Right Act (2006) and how they are managing their resources in sustainable manner.  
Grass potential of Kumbhalgarh WLS
Known person from Kalpvriksh was very clear in telling about the Forest Right Act, Individual Property Right (IPR) and Community Property Right (CPR).  Many things are very much clearly mentioned in the Act but some of the NGOs are trying to misinterpret the information available and the local community vivaciously grasping this information. It is so disheartening to see how the real facts are getting distorted!!!!! I wanted to tell many things but I didn’t find it as a suitable platform. Though, it was very difficult for me to keep myself quiet, and I did communicate with local community but in a different perspective. One thing which came up, was the management aspect, it’s not that local community cannot manage their resources but lack of collective efforts or you can say lack of UNITY is becoming a major problem.  Most of my friends think that these tribal and local communities are innocent people but increased impact of technology and politics has grown its root deeper at the village level and that is where their innocence is paying interest. Literate people are taking advantage of their innocence and lack of accord to earn their bread. It’s so ridiculous!


I am a wildlife biologist, I do care about the forest and practically I am against any type of developmental activities inside the forest, I do believe in natural flow of nutrient and natural regeneration of forest but on the other hand I do aware of the rights which are being asked by local community. Here comes my concern of transient the information, passing on the right information and in precise way should be the criteria in engaging these people with us. Dialogue with respective department and local community should be in agenda. If government has brought some Act for the welfare of the tribal community, then we all should join hands together towards the sustainable management and conservation of our resources.
Some of the NGOs are behaving like a rival of forest department. In this way the differences and clashes between the forest department and local community cannot be filled.  These NGOs should work like cement instead of working like a negative catalyst.  Overall these resources are all ours and it’s our duty to conserve these resources in sustainable manner. If economic growth is necessary for the country then same thing should apply for the tribal also and I don’t think anyone will deny this fact of economic and social uplifting of local and tribal community but in this social and economic uplifting one should never forget our environment and sustainable use of natural resources.  

Bio-Diversity

A Majestic abode for Wildlife………..

Posted by Himani Kala on December 12, 2012

 
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A Majestic abode for Wildlife………..

Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful abode for the birds of different regions. It is supposed to believe that Goddess 'Sita' had spent her few years of exile in this area, hence this sanctuary named as Sitamata WLS with three perennial rivers in its account. This sanctuary has its immense importance in Southern Rajasthan mainly because it forms the northwestern limit of Teak-bamboo forests and the fauna occurring there in. It is exceptional for diversity and interspersion of habitats, which includes area of teak stands, wetlands, perennial streams, gentle undulating mountains, natural deep gorges and fine grooves of mixed woodlands. The location of this sanctuary being at the inter junction of the Aravalli, Vindyan hill ranges, and Malwa Plateau makes it zoo-geographically important and more unique as floral and faunal elements of both ranges could occur.
This majestic Wildlife Sanctuary (SWLS) lies in the districts of Chittaurgarh, Udaipur and newly formed Pratapgarh district in the southwest region of Rajasthan State extending upto 422.95 km2. Three perennial river i.e. Jakham, karmoi and Sitamata wet the sanctuary through out the year. General topography presents a picture of tangled wilderness of ridges, plateaus, valleys with network of streams and at places fairly wide plains.
The climate is characterized by distinct winter, summer and monsoon season.The winter commences from November and becomes cold in December –January with the minimum temperature of 6oC. Summer starts from mid March and the heat become intense in April with the maximum temperature of 45oC. Rain showers from mid June and continues up to mid September. Sometimes winter showers also occur in January-February. 
Bauhinia racemosa
Bolssom
Peristylis spp.
  When talk about Rajasthan, only scene comes in mind is vast sand dunes, desert, dry areas but seeing this sanctuary would surely surprise everyone by seeing network of three rivers Jakham, the Karmoi and the Sitamata and accompanied lush green riparian vegetation is main characteristic of this sanctuary.All this have resulted in diverse micro and macro habitats that are home to quite a few conservation significant floral species like Sterculia urens,Dendrocalamus strictus, Chlorophytum tuberosum, Buchanania lanzan, Desmostachya bipinnata, Gloriosa superba and Orchid like Vanda and Peristylis.
 

 
With so many characteristics, this sanctuary is interspersed with about 26 villages and their agriculture field that creates a typical mosaic; while along the periphery there are nearly 20 villages. The agricultural activities coupled with the heavy biotic pressure of domestic livestock, illicit cutting of wood, timber and bamboo and other MFP collection, encroachments, both inside and the periphery exerts enormous pressure on the PA.
Indian Peafowl
This entire geographic feature makes this sanctuary perfect abode for more then 300 species of birds including Indian Pitta, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch, Verditer Flycatcher, Ultramarine Flycatcher, three type of Kingfisher and major attraction is Stroke-billed Kingfisher in the riverine, Tit species like Black-lored Tit, Great Tit, small birds like munias and winter visitors like warblers, and even can see dancing Indian Peafowls everywhere in the monsoon season. 
Peacock Pansy
Butterflies like Lime butterflies, Mormon, Blue Tigers, Grey, blue, peacock and chocolate pansy can be seen feeding on many flowering species.                                                                           
Tiny spiders are of course can bring joy of being in the forest.
Mammals like Palm and Small Indian Civet are an attraction in the night feeding on some fruiting trees. Jungle Cat and smallest Rusty-spotted Cat is also a feature of attraction in the sanctuary along with endangered Four-horned Antelope. 



Indian Rock Python
Reptiles like Fan-throated Lizard, to poisonous Kobra, Krait to Python, even crocodiles can be seen at the bank of Jakham Dam.






Overall this sanctuary is a must visit place in southern Aravallis. Even Sitamata temple is located at the heart of the sanctuary midst of lush green forest with riverine all along. 
Ravines
Waterfall near Sitamata Temple
One could ever imagine a walk in the forest listening chirping birds all over, fishes and even small crabs in the river, water is so clear that one can even see river-bed full of small pebbles, deep gorges and valley and after that a small water fall. It’s so comforting to be in this protected area. I would advise to all my friends to take some time off from their busy life and visit this place at least once in their life.

2 comments:

Bio-Diversity

Mangarbani

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 05, 2012

 
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Read the interesting piece about Mangarbani at the link
http://forbesindia.com/printcontent/32350


.... The spry-at-78 Arthur F. Bentley professor of political science at Indiana University, however, backs Mangar villagers and conservationists because she does believe in the durability of traditional community-based models of preserving and judiciously using common resources such as water, fisheries and forests. ......

Ostrom’s research is particularly important for India which is struggling to manage its commons, be it forests or water. Flashpoints are becoming frequent as demands of a burgeoning population and its development needs put pressure on common property. The 600-acre Mangarbani, for instance, falls within Faridabad’s new 20-year development plan that would allow construction and other projects in eco-sensitive areas. But what they fail to grasp is that the forests are crucial to the maintenance of an ecosystem that helps recharge the aquifers beneath the Aravalli hills. ......







Bio-Diversity

Mangarbani Virgin Forest, Gurgaon

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 01, 2012

 
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5km to the side of Gurgaon -Faridabad four lane road, driving through a thick forest of Vilayati Kekar trees interpersed with construction sites, you enter Mangarbani village (wrongly spelt Manger at the direction board on the main road).




The Art and Craft Hotel raises a few eyebrows just before we enter the village.  Builders are already in possession of Dream plans to convert the ancient village of Mangarbani into a "Tourist Paradise", the Hotel is probably waiting for those Dreams to take wings.


 Entrance to Mangarbani


At this sleepy village of about 300 hamlets we ask our way to the Bani.  As we reach Bani, the three soldiers from Mangarbani village who started the fight to save Mangarbani against seemingly odd barriers,  greet us.  We, a few friends who learnt about Mangarbani through the film "The Lost Forest",  had decided to devote the Sunday Morning to see the forest for ourselves. 


"Heavenly'" " So cool'" "Longest tailed peacock" "Beautiful bird sounds"  remarks kept coming as we walked. The residents pitched in with their knowledge of the Bani.  The first and last rule of the Bani " Do not pluck or cut anything from the Bani.  If you graze your animals inside, you raise the wrath of  Gudanya Baba  whose Samadhi in a cave is worshipped by the villagers.


 Broken Kadamb branch-Remove it at your peril!


 Here is an excerpt from the magazine "Down To Earth"


---What sets the Bani apart from the surrounding vegetation is that 95 per cent of it comprises a slow growing tree called Dhau (Anogeissus pendula). The tree has a unique feature. If it is nibbled by cattle, it spreads out on the ground or over rocks like thick prostrate undergrowth. If left undisturbed, it grows into a middle-sized tree. The 13-meter-tall dhaus in Mangar Bani testify to the forest’s antiquity, points out Pradip Krishen, the author of Trees of Delhi. ......


Sacred grove of Dhau trees seen from temple top


We saw Desi papri trees, Vat  and Dhok trees , Seetaphal trees and Kadamb trees which were fruiting and Dhau, the endemic tree of the area which were sprouting all over after the rains.



 Fruit of Kadamb tree


Sweet fruit of Seeta Phal tree



Dhau sprouting through rocks



Take the Dhau outside Mangarbani and they refuse to grow.  The Dhau is believed to be one large organism in Managrbani which propagates through root grown saplings only.  Untouched by the British ( The British never discovered this village tucked away in the interior, according to locals) and the Forest Department, Vilayati Keekar is absent in the village.  No bougainvillas and no lantana bushes are seen anywhere.      The Forest has remained natural as it was 3000 years ago.  A Natural Museum worth presrving for the next generation!




Under the shade of ancient trees


Mangarbani, a serene forest



Besides the Bani being the Preserve of fauna and flora endemic to the Aravalis (probably the only patch in Rajasthan-Haryana-Delhi, where Aravalis have survived in their original glory), this unspoilt forest is most likely responsible for water recharging and safeguarding water veins underground.  Destroy this vegetation cover, build on it and we could end up blocking/destroying any number of water veins under those impenetrable rock-systems.  

Gurgaon and Faridabad have seen Surajkund, Badkhal and Dumdama lakes disappear within the last 25-30 years, once vegetation in Aravalis was destroyed and hilllsides dug up for minerals/stones for construction and/or levelled for putting up buildings. The ban by the Supreme Court on all mining cant restore those water bodies, they are gone for ever.

Will the Gurgaon-Faridabad-Delhi residents let the unspoilt Aravalis in and around Manger Bani disappear? They could be destroying the most important water-recharge System/Preserve that could have sustained the coming generations by providing much needed elixir of life 'WATER'

SAVE THE ARAVALIS THAT WE STILL HAVE------REHABILITATING THEM MAY BE BEYOND ALL OF US. AFTER ALL THESE MOUNTAINS TOOK MILLIONS OF YEARS TO BECOME OUR BENEFICIARIES------


Listen to the young men from Mangarbani making an appeal

Bio-Diversity

Melissa officinalis-Leman Balm

Posted by Sheikh GULZAAR on February 20, 2012

 
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Bio-Diversity

The Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary

Posted by Susan Sharma on October 04, 2011

 
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The Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary is a forest garden in the Western Ghat mountains of Kerala, India, dedicated to conservation and education. This mountain system is bordered by the Arabian Sea on one side and vast arid areas on others. It supports a unique and endangered flora, and has been identified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as one of the 25 centres of biodiversity in the world.

Founded in 1981, the Sanctuary is a garden of wild plant species grown at the edge of a large rainforest reserve. Our central intention is to restore endangered species and habitats in a highly fragmented landscape, in which only a fraction of original forest remains and much of the native flora is extracted for human use.

The Sanctuary is run by a small group of resident gardeners, naturalists and educators, and supported by a wide circle of well-wishers. Together we offer an approach that is connected to the climate, landscape, ecosystems, plants, animals and people of the Western Ghats.

The work at the Sanctuary includes:

  • Conservation of native (rainforest) plants.
  • Education and public outreach.
  • Developing horticultural and conservation skills in local young women.
  • Habitat restoration in degraded areas of the Western Ghats
  • Supporting recovery of natural forest within our lands.
  • Research in biodiversity and conservation.
  • Sustainable agriculture and integrated land use: growing the forest farm.
Read more at http://www.gbsanctuary.org/

Bio-Diversity

whale sharks

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 29, 2011

 
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Now, armed with latest technology and collaborations with whale shark experts from around the world, WTI with TCL’s support, is assisting the Gujarat Forest Department, to unravel the mysteries surrounding this fish.

“There must be something in the water of Gujarat that attracts them here,” says Manoj Matwal, Field Officer, WTI. “Perhaps it is the productivity which allows for flourishing of micro-organisms that predominantly make up the diet of this fish.”

Read more at the link

http://www.wti.org.in/current-news/110819_why_do_whale_sharks_visit_gujarat.html

Bio-Diversity

Vultures in our eco system

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 29, 2011

 
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Vultures in our eco system
"They process certain bacteria and fungi present in carcasses, which otherwise form spores when brought in contact with a healthy human or animal, and become almost immortal.  In the absence of vultures, dogs end up eating the dead animals and the bacteria spreads thereafter. " Dr. Vibhu Prakash

Here is a link to a comprehensive article on vultures in our eco system, which makes for fascinating reading

The title is "India's Vanishing Vultures" written by Meera Subramanian in the Virginia Quarterly Review

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2011/spring/subramanian-vultures/

Bio-Diversity

Contribution of Pollinator-Mediated Crops to Nutrients in the Human Food Supply

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 22, 2011

 
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"The contribution of nutrients from animal pollinated world crops has not previously been evaluated as a biophysical measure for the value of pollination services. This study evaluates the nutritional composition of animal-pollinated world crops. We calculated pollinator dependent and independent proportions of different nutrients of world crops, employing FAO data for crop production, USDA data for nutritional composition, and pollinator dependency data according to Klein et al. (2007). Crop plants that depend fully or partially on animal pollinators contain more than 90% of vitamin C, the whole quantity of Lycopene and almost the full quantity of the antioxidants β-cryptoxanthin and β-tocopherol, the majority of the lipid, vitamin A and related carotenoids, calcium and fluoride, and a large portion of folic acid. Ongoing pollinator decline may thus exacerbate current difficulties of providing a nutritionally adequate diet for the global human population."

Citation: Eilers EJ, Kremen C, Smith Greenleaf S, Garber AK, Klein A-M (2011) Contribution of Pollinator-Mediated Crops to Nutrients in the Human Food Supply. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21363. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021363

Read more at

#PLoS: Contribution of Pollinator-Mediated Crops to Nutrients in the Human Food Supply http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021363

Bio-Diversity

10 New species of frogs!

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 06, 2011

 
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A team headed by Dr Anil Zachariah, a renowned scientist, has discovered 10 new species of frogs from the hill ranges of Southern Western Ghats with the help of Zoological Survey of India. 

“These findings show that Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot of the world still has many new species of amphibians,” Dr.Zachariah told Deccan Chronicle.

Read more at

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/sci-tech/others/scientists-find-10-new-frog-species-952

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