Protecting Biodiversity of the Eastern Ghats

Protecting Biodiversity of the Eastern Ghats

Kalpana Palkhiwala: Environmentally Sensitive Zones are areas with identified environmental resources having “Incomparable Values” which require special attention for their conservation. Ecological sensitivity is defined as the imminent possibility of permanent and irreparable loss of extant life forms from the world, or significant damage to the natural processes of evolution and speciation. This means loss of bio-diversity needs to be measured not only against some measure of the current stock, but also in terms of the potential that must be preserved for future generations. After degradation and loss of natural resources, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has identified eco-sensitive areas in the Eastern Ghats and  is also taking initiatives to protect biodiversity. In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) read with clause (v) and clause (xiv) of  sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986) and sub-rule (3) of rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, the Central Government can notify any area as the Eco-sensitive Zone.


Criteria to Declare Environmentally Sensitive Zones

There are three main criteria to declare any area as Ecologically Sensitive Zone. The first of the primary criteria is species related, and defines the characteristics of species which are or may become threatened with extinction. These include endemism, rarity, endangered species and centres of evolution of domesticated species. The second category relates to eco-systems. Some of these derive their importance from being essential to the survival of the first category, while the rest are critical for maintaining the range and pace of evolution and speciation. These include wildlife Corridors, specialised ecosystems, and special breeding site/area, areas with intrinsically lowresilience, sacred groves and frontier forests etc. The third category includes geo-morphological conditions which are known to have substantial effect on eco-systems at large. These include uninhabited islands in the sea, steep slopes, origins or rivers. In addition to these primary criteria, there are seven auxiliary criteria viz., species based – areas orcentres of less known food plants, eco system based – wetlands and grasslands and geo-morphological features based – upper catchment areas, not so steep slopes, high rainfall areas and other uninhabited islands.

There are also probable areas to be declared as ecologically sensitive zones. A certain amount of prioritization is given to the areas which are already known to be either ecologically important or under ecological stress. Examples of such areas are National parks and Sanctuaries, Tiger Reserves, Protected and Reserve Forests, Biosphere Reserves, National Marine Parks, Coastal Regulation Zone – I and Hill Stations.


Initiatives Taken for Eastern Ghats

The Eastern Ghats form a broken chain of mountainous terrain spreading in the states of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and two districts of Karnataka. The jurisdiction is covered in four sections, namely- Northern-Eastern Ghats which covers the area above Mahanadi to Northern boundary of Orissa- Mayurbhanj district. Other three sections are river Mahanadi to river Godavari, river Krishna to Chennai city and southern ghats i.e. tract between Chennai and Nilgiri hills to river Vaigai.

Seshachalam hill ranges of Andhra Pradesh have been designated as Biosphere Reserve. Several Wildlife Sanctuaries have been established in the Eastern Ghats to preserve its Biodiversity. These include GundlaBrahmeswaram, Kambalakonda, Kaundinya, Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam, Papikonda, Pocharam, Rollapadu, SriLankamallesqaram, Sri Penisula Narasimha and Sri Venkateswara Wildlife Sanctraries.

Botanical Survey of India (BSI) has published several floras to document on the biodiversity of Eastern Ghats. These are Flora of Tamil Nadu (including districts of Eastern Ghats), Flora of Nallamalais, Flora of Visakhapatnam, Flora of Nellore, Flora of Venkateshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, Flora of Araku Valley , Flora ofNagarjuankonda, Flora of Maredumalai, Flora of Medak and Flora of Chittor District.

Zooligical Survey of India(ZSI) has  also taken steps to document the faunal resources in the Eastern Ghats. It has published under State Fauna series the Fauna of Andhra Pradesh in eight volumes and the Fauna of Tamilnaduin two volumes, both of which contain the fauna of Eastern Ghats also.

Fifteen wetlands have been identified in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal for management and conservation.  Sixteen Mangroves sites have been identified in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal for the protection of Mangroves. The Ministry has established National Mangrove Genetic Resources Centre in Orissa.

A National Biodiversity Authority has been set up and as per Biodiversity Act, 2002, seven Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) have been formed to document and preserve the biodiversity in the Eastern Ghats. The model People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) has also been issued to the State Biodiversity Boards to facilitate the preparation of PBRs (documenting biodiversity and associated knowledge) by these Biodiversity Management Committees.


Environmental Information System Center of Eastern Ghats

Environment Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI), Hyderabad and Ministry of Environment and Forests, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 1994 for setting up of Environmental Aspects of Eastern Ghats as its subject.

The jurisdiction of the Eastern Ghats extends in the States of Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Karnataka. An ENVIS Coordination Committee was set up as per the MoU to guide the development and work of the ENVIS Center. The Committee comprises of experts from various disciplines with representation from the concerned states and including representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The “Tirupati Statement” on Conservation of Eastern Ghats was drawn in 2002 at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. The Statement also pointed out the role of the various stake holders to launch a comprehensive scheme for the conservation of Eastern Ghats on the lines of Western Ghats Development and Hills Area Developmentprogramme.


More in Environment

  • CSIR conducts research on benefits of medicines made from cow urine in chronic diseases

    CSIR conducts research on benefits of medicines made from cow urine in chronic diseases New Delhi: Council...

  • Union Minister says organic farming integrated with bio diversity

    Union Minister says organic farming integrated with bio diversity  New Delhi: Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh has said that there are unlimited potentialities of agriculture in North Eastern states, therefore, Central Government is focusing exclusively on the development of agricultural sector in north eastern states. The Minister said...

  • Indian Govt. approves MoU between India and European Union on water cooperation

    Indian Govt. approves MoU between India and European Union on water cooperation New Delhi: The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the signing of MoU between India and European Union in the field of water resources. The MoU envisages strengthening the technological,...

  • Threat of Flood in Godavari and Krishna Basins Real

    Forecast for Flood in Godavari and Krishna Basins In view of heavy to very heavy rainfall with isolated extremely heavy rainfall at a few places in Telangana, Madhya Maharashtra Vidarbha Marathwada and North Interior Karnataka with Armoor in Nizamabad district of Telangana reporting 40 cm rainfall and many stations reporting more than...

  • ISRO Enumerates Benefits from Launching of Foreign Satellite

    ISRO Enumerates Benefits from Launching of Foreign Satellite New Delhi: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched 20 satellites in a single launch mission onboard Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle ‘PSLV-C34’ on June 22, 2016 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. In this mission, 17 foreign satellites (total weighing 555 kg) from...

  • Regulatory Clearance to Light Water Reactors: Latest Update

    Regulatory Clearance to Light Water Reactors: Latest Update New Delhi: Unit 2 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (1000 MW) Light Water Reactor (LWR) with technical cooperation with Russia attained first criticality at 20:56 hours on July 10, 2016. The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) being constructed by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited...

  • Books ‘Animals in the Holy Quran’ and ‘Dictionary of Flora and Fauna of Quran’ launched

    Books ‘Animals in the Holy Quran’ and ‘Dictionary of Flora and Fauna of Quran’ launched ALIGARH: “Eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters”, reminded Dr. Mohd. Iqtedar Husain Farooqi, while highlighting the Quranic injunctions regarding the flora and fauna, and animals at a book release...

  • 13 AMU Geology students qualify Assistant Geologist exam of UPSC

    13 AMU Geology students qualify Assistant Geologist exam of UPSC Aligarh: At least 13 students of Department of Geology, Aligarh Muslim University have qualified the Assistant Geologist examination conducted by UPSC. Professor Liaqat Ali Khan Rao, Chairperson, Department of Geology informed that Meradul Islam, Md Khatib Khan, Khush Navi, Abdul Samad Siddiqui,...