Conservation Planning for the Garha Corridor
In the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, establishing connectivity between key source sites is mandatory. As wildlife landscapes experience fragmentation and habitat degradation as a result of land-use change, conservation in those landscapes depends on how effectively connectivity can be established between source populations.
The Garha corridor separates the 500 sq.km area of the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (comprising Mala, Mahof, Barahi, and Haripur ranges) from the Deoria block. Administratively, the Deoria block consists of the Lalpur and Ghunghchai part of Mala range and the entire Deoria range.
Given that this area has varied habitats, including grasslands, and ample perennial water, it has the potential to expand the area of contiguous habitat for tigers, prey, and other wildlife within PTR, in the event of better connectivity. Much of the land in the Garha gap is under private ownership or control, land use continues to change with each passing year. The expanding human footprint in the matrix around the patches presents challenges to set aside land for conservation.
The complexity of restoring this corridor is compounded by the fact that land areas that facilitate animal movement are largely under private ownership or occupation, with small and scattered parcels under the management of various government departments or village Gram Sabhas.
The study shows evidence of tiger dispersal from Pilibhit's northern forest ranges to the Deoria patch and indicates the functionality of this corridor. Recommendations to secure this corridor include approaches as a declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zone, working with Gram Sabhas and district administration to regulate land-use change and managing about 100 ha of land for afforestation through community involvement.