Conservation and Livelihoods Project in the periphery villages of Satkosia Gorge Wild Life Sanctuary
The project is being implemented with support from the British High Commission under the Sustainable Development Programme and was initiated in July 2005.
Orissa has 15 Sanctuaries and one National Park. Angul District with 40.25% of the total geographical area as forests is one of the most forested districts, which also includes a major part of the Satkosia Gorge Wild Life Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is of genetic and ecological interests as both Tropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf and Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf forests are found. The sanctuary was notified in 1976 and is a proposed project under ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’. The topography is hilly and the elevation ranges between 152-860 metres above the mean sea level. The Satkosia Gorge Wild Life Sanctuary covers an area of 530.01 sq. km and falls in the IUCN management category IV. The sanctuary is home to several species of flora and fauna including some rare and endangered species.
The study indicates a degradation of primary forests in this area. The sanctuary has 35 villages in the core area, 80 villages in the buffer zone and 105 villages in the periphery. People of about 200 odd villages depend on the sanctuary and its buffer areas for their fuelwood, grazing and other biomass requirements, which exert heavy biotic pressure on the Sanctuary. Besides this, the rampant forest fire occurring due inappropriate practice of non-timber forest produce collection and poaching in this region acts prove to be a setback for implementing the conservation plans of the sanctuary. Human-animal conflict in the Sanctuary is a major cause of concern both in terms of the lives of the people, wildlife, cattle and destruction of their crops.
The project aims at conserving and improving the biodiversity and faunal habitats of the sanctuary through reduced pressure of grazing of the livestock and for the biomass needs of the periphery villages through improved vegetation outside forest areas to meet local needs and support alternative livelihood options. The project would also provide a model for co-management of the sanctuary with the active participation of the community.