Conservation of Ecological Sensitive Regions with the insights of forest dynamics at disaggregated levels

Ramachandra T V, Bharath Settur, Vinay S

Abstract


Ecological sensitivity or fragility refers to permanent and irreparable loss of extant life forms or significant damage to the natural processes of evolution and speciation with the alterations in the ecological integrity of a region. The comprehensive knowledge of the ecological fragility of a region is quintessential for evolving strategies of conservation. This entails understanding factors responsible for ecological sensitiveness, including landscape dynamics, to visualize future transitions to mitigate the problems of haphazard and uncontrolled development approaches. The assessment of forest dynamics for Dakshina Kannada district was carried out using temporal remote sensing data and the field data and predicted future scenarios of transformation, which helps develop appropriate management strategies. Ecological sensitive regions at decentralized levels (grids of 5’ x 5’ or 9 km x 9 km) have been identified in Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka State, India, through a composite metric based on bio, geo, hydro, climatic, and ecological factors with the social aspects. This information was compiled through natural environment survey at representative grids and the extensive literature review for the information at the district level. The 33% (24 grids) of the area corresponds to 54 villages represents ESR 1, 20% (15 grids) of the area demarcated as ESR 2 covering 81 villages, 28% (20 grids) of the area covering 145 villages shows ESR 3, and 19 % area (14 grids) covering 100 villages as ESR 4. ESR 1 & ESR 2 indicates the high ecological sensitiveness, need to be protected, and suggested stringent conservation measures. ESR 3 represents a moderate conservation region, and only regulated development is allowed. ESR 4 represents the least diverse areas, and the developments are permitted as per the requirement of local people through strict vigilance of regulatory authorities. The region-specific (cluster approaches in the development path to enhance job opportunities and optimization of local resources use) sustainable developments can be taken up at each panchayat level, with the most negligible effects on the ecosystem.


Keywords


Biodiversity; Conservation; Cluster-based development; Ecological Fragility; Endemic Species.

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