Untitled Document

Critical Regions

India is one of the most bio diverse rich countries in the world. Within India, there are a number of regions that are critical in terms of the sheer biodiversity they harbor as well as the environmentally sensitive areas they are located in.

These regions range from the bird paradise Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, in western India to the biodiversity hotspots of the eastern Himalayas in the east and from the fragile high altitude lakes of Ladakh in the north to the dense jungles of the South-Western Ghats in southern India. WWF-India is working to conserve these critical regions through a number of initiatives and conservation approaches.
 

Where we work

WWF-India, since its inception, has been involved in supporting individual Protected Areas (PAs) – wildlife sanctuaries, national parks as well as tiger reserves. In the early 2000s it was realized that it was no longer enough to strengthen enforcement capabilities, contain human-animal conflict with various mitigation measures or just recognize meritorious work of field staff within PAs. The vision for the next 5 to 10 years had to look beyond PAs at entire conservation landscapes and make local people inhabiting the critical landscape areas as major stakeholders. In addition, it was important to bring in other government agencies into the conservation mainstream as well. 
 / ©: Ravi Singh/WWF-India
India is one of the most bio diverse rich countries in the world. Within India, there are a number of regions that are critical in terms of the sheer biodiversity they harbor as well as the environmentally sensitive areas they are located in.
© Ravi Singh/WWF-India

The shift

In 2002-03, WWF-India adopted the landscape/critical regions approach in its overall strategic thinking. This involved a huge shift; from strengthening enforcement capacity in select protected areas to working in larger regions with a string of protected areas that could be connected to ensure a large safe habitat for wildlife. It also meant addressing both near-term and longer term threats and looking at the “big picture” including land use change, livelihoods, and development policies across the landscape. The strategic shift and change in vision meant a change of focus in action plans as well.

WWF-India chose the following landscapes and critical regions to focus its conservation agenda:

The challenges

Conservation at a landscape and critical regions level involves working with communities living in and on the fringes of forested areas. It also means bringing various elements of human-wildlife conflict mitigation as one of the core aspects of our conservation work. It involves working with multiple stakeholders to develop an overall vision for the landscape and then channeling resources from various sources including government schemes towards meeting this vision. Landscape conservation is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional and needs a long-term strategy. It includes working at both the field and policy levels. 

The impact

Working in close coordination with the Forest Departments as well as other line departments of the government, WWF-India’s initiatives have made a positive impact on ground in all these landscapes. This is either through major policy declarations, scaling up activities, government buy-in, and / or community support for habitat improvement and protection of wildlife. There have been some significant achievements made in the recent past Most of the landscape programmes have now reached a stage from where the work is being consolidated and up-scaled.