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Reconciling Biodiversity Conservation with Local Livelihoods

Spread over more than 940 sq. km, the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh was listed amongst the country's first nine Protected Areas selected under Project Tiger in 1973. Not only does the National Park shelter one of the largest populations of tigers in the country (131 tigers as on June 2006), but it is also home to several other faunal species of which many are rare.

The 179-odd villages strung along its periphery depend on the Tiger Reserve and its peripheral areas for their fuel wood, grazing and other biomass requirements, in turn exerting heavy biotic pressure on it. Rampant forest fires owing to inappropriate practices of NTFP collection and poaching serve as setbacks for implementing conservation plans. Man-animal conflict is also a major cause of concern, both in terms of the lives of the people, wildlife, cattle and destruction of their crops.

The project is an effort to reconcile the dual objectives of conservation and improvement of local livelihoods, and also to build the capacities of the communities to manage natural resources by strengthening community institutions. It works towards restoring/conserving the natural resource base of the area as well as diversifying and strengthening the livelihood portfolio of the dependent communities, thereby reducing pressure on the biodiversity-rich areas and wildlife habitats. The area of focus is the biodiversity-rich zone of Kanha National Park and its buffer areas in the Khatiya and Sijhori ranges.

Supported by

Royal Bank of Scotland

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