The Critical Regions Approach
In 2002-03, WWF India adopted the landscape approach to revise the overall conservation strategy. This strategy assisted in harmonising the wildlife needs with the requirements of local communities. The new approach represents a paradigm shift from a selective focus only on Protected Areas to encompassing vast regions defined by a string of Protected Areas connected through reserved forests, corridors, and human-dominated areas. The landscape approach has been hailed as a comprehensive driving force towards a significant, safe and sustainable habitat for wildlife. It includes a long-term conservation focus with strategies for land-use change, livelihoods and development policies across the landscape.
Within and around these critical landscapes, WWF India has aimed to involve local communities, civil society organisations and government agencies as major stakeholders in its overall conservation goals.
At present, WWF India is addressing species conservation through field level activities in different landscapes and direct interventions aimed at conserving a particular species. These programmes focus on threats to wildlife and the issues surrounding these threats. Among these are degradation and fragmentation of corridors, poaching, human-wildlife conflict, trade in wildlife parts, habitat and legal support. The project activities are carried out at field as well as policy levels. They are mainly related to scientific information gathering, working with the local communities, NGOs and government agencies, including the state forest departments.
The overall objectives under which these activities are undertaken are:
- Tigers, co-predators, prey and their habitats and corridors are conserved
- Elephant populations and their habitats and corridors are secured in priority landscapes
- The distribution of rhinos in BHL and TAL is expanded and secured to ensure long term survival
- Conserve populations and habitats of the red panda, snow leopard and Nilgiri tahr
- Innovative and scalable models of community-based conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and institutional partnerships are established in all landscape
- Establish mechanisms that promote effective management of corridors, maintaining critical connectivity in priority landscapes. A strong and active coalition for wildlife corridors is promoting landscape integrity & securing connectivity
- Adapt, replicate and scale-up successful models of managing human-wildlife conflict in shared spaces
- Establish systems to conserve and secure wildlife habitats for supporting populations of threatened species across landscapes