Conservation of rare endangered and threatened species in fast degrading Betta Land through protection of species, plant enrichment and wetland creation in Siddapur Taluq of North Kanara District, Karnataka, India. The Western Ghats are recognized as one of the twelve mega-biodiversity places of the world. The Western Ghats forest lands are of national and global importance for ecological balance, bio diversity and the supply of natural resources. In the district Utttara Kannada, Karnataka, local communities living in the forest lands (Betta Lands) utilize these natural resources for many centuries. Forest lands degrading, plant and animal species are threatened and the livelihood since few years’ potential for the communities is declining due to over use.
The Betta Lands cover 40,000 Ha in the Uttara Kannada district and is situated in the heart of the Western Ghats and the northern part of Malanad Kodagu corridor. Due to unsustainable use and management, nowadays more than 70% of the Betta Land is degraded and converted into grass land instead of being covered with useful trees. Also several wild fruit plants, wild animals and IUCN red list species are disappearing from the Betta Land.
The Betta Land forests are legally owned by the Forest Department but are handed over to local communities for collection of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP`s). Also the local communities use this land for horticulture and grazing of farm animals.
MANUVIKASA aims in this pilot project to collaborate with the Forest Department and the local communities to protect and restore the forests of the Betta Lands. Indigenous knowledge, technical solutions and scientific research will be used to develop a sustainable management plan, based on community based forest conservation. The project will be set up as a case study of the Siddapur Taluq, consisting of 4,000 Ha Betta Land.
MANUVIKASA is an NGO working with rural communities in Karnataka, India. It focuses on livelihood development, promotion of education, health support, Protection of human rights and conservation of natural resources. MANUVIKASA`s work is irrespective of caste, creed, race, sex, language or religion. The organization puts specific effort in the well being of downtrodden rural communities living in extreme poverty.
MANUVIKASA co-operates with different stakeholders in communities, governments, research institutions and NGO`s to set up a collaboration on the sustainable management of the Betta Land. This collaboration is essential for the protection and restoration of Betta Land and the preservation of its particular biodiversity. Also a business model will be developed for community based conservation of the Betta Land. MANUVIKASA has set up this project (from July 2013 until July 2015) to realize these goals. Financial support has been granted by UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAME (UNDP) small grant programme and Centre for Environment Education (CEE)
What do we want to achieve?
In this project, MANUVIKASA focuses both on improving the ecological and economic conditions of the Betta Land. The objectives of this project will contribute to the government`s goals to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and protect the environment. The objectives are:
- Study, assess and evaluate the degradation of Betta Land and develop a sustainable management plan.
- Collaboration with forest department and government programs focused on forest conservation and restoration.
- Lobby and use of media to create more political awareness concerning protecting the Betta Land.
- Stimulate enforcement of legislation for protecting the Betta Land.
- Development of sustainable business model for local communities that also can be used in other areas.
- Conservation of rare, endangered and threatened IUCN species in Betta Land.
- Planting and sustainable management of NTFP, foliage and fodder species and medicinal plants.
- Development of water harvesting structure for soil and water conservation.
- Regenerate Betta Land through plant enrichment, control soil erosion and rain water harvesting.
- Capacity building of communities for preserving biodiversity, improve food security and economic development.
- Women empowerment through supporting Self Help Groups (SHG’s).
- Promotion of energy efficient Choolas (Closed stoves) for more efficient use of fire wood.
Which Products and Results do we want to realize?
Specific, measurable and achievable products and results have to be set to achieve the objectives. MANUVIKASA organizes and conducts activities and monitors the progress of the products and results accurately. The products, results and activities are: Protection of rare, endangered and threatened IUCN species (e.g. Hopea ponga(IUCN Endangered 1998), Hydnocarpus macrocarpa (IUCN Vulnerable 1998), Pterocarpus marsupium (IUCN vulnerable 2006), Pterospermum reticulatum (IUCN Vulnerable 1998), Myristica malabarica (IUCN Endangered 2010), Santalum album (IUCN Vulnerable 1998), Vateria indica (IUCN Critically Endangered 1998) and Saraca asoca (IUCN Vulnerable 1998).
- Restoring of degraded Betta Land of 4,000 Ha with involvement of Betta users in 100 Villages.
- Counseling and use of best practices to motivate local communities to co-operate.
- Effective collaboration between communities and government departments in 21 core villages and 225 small villages.
- Promotion of 150 water harvesting structures (e.g. wetlands, water springs, small water tanks) and improvement of ground water level. Total of 75 water harvesting structures will be developed within the project. The other 75 will be developed through support of Deshpande Foundation.
- Enrichment of 10,000 NTFP and fruit bearing trees. Nursery raising techniques will be developed and the raising will be done through interested farmers and SHGs. Promotion of live fencing around areca nut plantations to grow foliage species.
- Promotion of sustainable horticulture methods like proper composting and effective fertilizing.
- Promotion of 50 smokeless, energy efficient Choolas. Choolas are up to 60% more efficient in use of fire wood.
- Developing information booklets on sustainable management of Betta Land for Grama Panchayths and field level forest officials.
- Capacity building by education and training for 200 Betta land users.
Which benefits can be delivered?
The project intends to deliver a broad scale of benefits in ecological, economic and socio-cultural perspective. The benefits are based on different ecosystem services that can be derived from the Betta Land.
Do you or your company want to help us preserve the Betta Land and sponsor this project? Or are you or your company interested in an activity or product of the project? Or do you have a remark or question about the project? GET IN TOUCH WITH US.