New Delhi, Oct 17: In an effort towards landscape-level wildlife conservation, a recent study identified 567 types of barriers in 30 corridors in Central India landscape consisting of 3,84,508 sqkm spread across 16 protected areas (PAs) in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. It contains 16 PAs with a size of 87 sqkm to 3,188 sqkm.
Central India is a global-priority landscape for tiger conservation and contains about 31% of India's tiger population. The study mapped these corridors and ranked them according to their restoration potential.
"We mapped 567 barriers within 30 linkages in this landscape, of which 265 barriers intersect with infrastructure (694 km of roads, 150 km of railway, 48 reservoirs, 10 mines) and 302 barriers are due to land-use or gaps in forest cover," says lead author of the study Trishna Dutta, Department of Ecology, Evolution, & Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York.
"Eighty-six barriers have both roads and railways. We identified 7 Cat1, 4 Cat2w, 9 Cat2b, and 10 Cat3 linkages. Eighty surface mines and thermal power plants are within 10 km of the least-cost paths, and more coal mines are closer to connectivity areas where linkages are narrow and rank poorly on both axes," she said.
The study found that 567 barrier area contained agriculture (1,260 sqkm), forest (1,821 sqkm), degraded cover (1,183 sqkm), open-water (150 sqkm), barren land (17 sqkm), and settlements (15sqkm).
"Agriculture, cattle rearing, and collection of forest products are important sources of livelihood for the people in this landscape. The region is also rich in coal and mineral deposits (Indian Bureau of Mines, 2017).
Several infrastructure projects such as the construction and expansion of transportation networks, mining for coal and minerals, and building reservoirs for water security and hydropower are planned in the landscape (Habib et al., 2016; Ministry of Finance, 2016; Indian Bureau of Mines, 2017).
- The study identified and mapped 567 barriers within 30 linkages in Central Indian Tiger corridor landscape.
- Out of 567 barriers,265 barriers intersect with infrastructure (694 km of roads, 150 km of railway, 48 reservoirs, 10 mines).
- Surface mines, thermal power plants and coal mines are other barriers.
- 302 barriers are due to land-use or gaps in forest cover.
- Land-use pattern of the barriers include agriculture, forest, degraded cover, open-water, barren land, and settlements.
- Further corridors between Kanha-Pench, Satpura-Melghat, Kanha-Nagzira, Nagzira-Pench, and Pench-Umred-Tadoba have high quality and potential for tiger connectivity and should be maintained.