Enhance Protected Area network for wildlife conservation: NWAP

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Jan 2018 10:03:40


By Kaushik Bhattacharya,

The action plan also recognised the concerns relating to impact of climate change on wildlife

726 PAs in the country covering 1.60 lakh sq km

The third National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) (2017-31) has emphasised on enhancing the Protected Area (PA), including tiger reserves network to conserve wildlife effectively in the country. The action plan has been released by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, recently, suggesting certain measures in the wildlife management for security of wildlife.

The PAs are geographical spaces, recognised, dedicated and managed through legal and other effective means to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated eco-system services and cultural values. The PAs provide a wide range of social, environmental and economical benefits to the people world-wide.

In this rapidly changing world where natural eco-systems are under severe pressure, the PAs, when governed and managed effectively, can provide nature based solutions to environmental problems and serve as integral component of sustainable development.

The action plan stated, “For the conservation of total biological diversity, the network of national parks, tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation reserves and other protected areas should be strengthened and extended adequately.”

At the beginning of the second National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) (2002-2016), there were only about 400 PAs covering an area around 1.56 lakh sq km in the country. Presently, there are 726 PAs in the country covering 1.60 lakh sq km, a slight increase of 4.88 per cent area.

The managed forests under the State Forest Departments (SFDs) are also contributing towards wildlife conservation. Thus, India has over 20 per cent of the total geographical area under effective wildlife management. However, wildlife in the urban landscapes and other human habitations as well as the marine and coastal biodiversity also need more protection and conservation attention.

This action plan also recommended to undertake periodic review of the status of PAs in India; complete the process of
rationalisation and demarcation of boundaries and zonation for effective management of PAs; prepare Integrated and Adaptive Management Plans (IAMPs) for all the protected areas; secure contiguous wildlife corridors and also
draw appropriate plans for their management; involve local communities in protection, conservation and management of PAs and improve the capacity of front-line staff for better monitoring and management practices.

The third action plan comes into effect after the first plan drawn in 1983 and second from 2002 till 2016.
The third NWAP is unique as this is the first time India has also recognised the concerns relating to climate change impact on wildlife and stressed on integrating actions that
need to take for its mitigation and adaptation into wildlife management planning processes.