Introduction

From Address:

Till as recently as the middle of nineteenth century, 70% of the geographical area of Kerala was under dense forest cover. However, by the dawn of 20th Century this was reduced to less than 50%. In the pre ­independence era, no significant and unified enactment in the field of wildlife conservation was made in the princely states of Travancore and Cochin and the Madras Presidency because the focus was entirely on revenue oriented forest management. The appointmentof S.C.H Robinson as the first Game Warden by the erstwhile Maharajah of Travancore in 1933 was a significant milestone in the history of Wildlife Conservation in the State. Based on his recommendations in 1934, Nellikkampetty was declared a Game Sanctuary, the first ever in the State, however to serve as the exclusive hunting preserve of the royalty. This was to be followed by the creation of an independent game department in 1940. More areas from the nearby Rattendon Valley and Mount Plateau were added to Periyar Lake Reserve to form the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in 1950. More Protected Areas were to come up in the succeeding years.

There was a perceptible shift vis-à-vis wildlife conservation in the seventies starting with the increased number of Protected Areas being added consequent to the implementation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 in 1973 and formulation of Wildlife Rules in 1978.The "Save Silent Valley" campaign staged in the eighties was a watershed in the history of conservation. For the first time in the country, scientists, planners, politicians, littérateurs, activists and conservationists in India and abroad came together in a common platform to wage a protracted battle to save one of the last remaining contiguous stretch of pristine rain forests in Palakkad District where a proposed hydel project would have inundated large chunks of riparian ecosystem but for the timely intervention of people's justice. Incidentally, Silent Valley also triggered what could be called media activism in highlighting environmental issues in the succeeding years thus effectively rousing people's awareness. At the national level, the National Wildlife Strategy was mooted in 1983 followed by the National Forest Policy of 1988. The importance of ecological contiguity in having a Protected Area Network as stressed by Panwar and Rogeres (1988) are sought to be fulfilled in the State by the creation of a chain of PAs along similar and diverse habitats along the Western Ghats. A separate Wildlife Wing was created in 1985.Before 1956 if there was only Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary with an area of 777 sq.km, at present there are 11 Wildlife Divisions under the Wildlife Wing. The Wing manages 3213.24 Km2 of forest under its Protected Area Network, which includes 5 National Parks, 2 Tiger Reserve, 2 Bird Sanctuaries, 1 Peafowl Sanctuary (Choolannur) and 1 Community Reserve  Special projects were initiated for the conservation of rare, endemic and endangered species like the Tiger and Elephants. Project Tiger launched in 1973 at the national level was implemented in Periyar in Kerala in 1978 and Project Elephant in 1991-92. Around this time a few other special projects for restoration of degraded habitats also have been launched outside Protected Areas.

The Kadalundi-Vallikkunnu Reserve, the first community reserve in India has been declared on 18-10-2007 for conserving the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the area with people’s participation.

Protected Area - Extent

 Sl no

 Type

 Number

 Area (Km2)

 1

 National Parks

 5

 356.1550

 2

 Wildlife Sanctuaries

 17

2855.5822

3

 Community Reserve

 1

 1.5

 

 Total

 

 3213.24

 

 

 Effective Forest Area (Forest Statistics,2008)    9400.00Km2              

 Forest Area under PA network                                 3213.24 Km2

 Percentage of PA to Forest Area                           28.41%

 Percentage of PA to Geographical Area               8.26%

 

 

 WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES, NATIONAL PARKS, OTHER PROTECTED AREAS AND BIOSPHERE  RESERVES 

Sl. No.

Name of WLS/NPs

G.O. No. & Date

Year of Formation

Total Area

(Sq. km)

 

National Parks

1

Eravikulam National Park

G.O.(MS)142/78 dated 19-05-1978

1978

97.0000

2

Silent Valley National Park

GO-5462/FSA3/82/AD dated 15.11.84

1984

237.5200

3

Anamudi Shola National Park

G.O.12876/F2/2003/F&WLD dated 14-12-2003

2003

7.5000

4

Mathikettan Shola National Park

GO(MS)No.50/2003/F&WLD dated 10-10-2003

2003

12.8170

5

Pambadum Shola National Park

G.O.12875/F2/2003/F&WLD dated 14-12-2003

2003

1.3180

 

Tiger Reserves

6

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary (Tiger Reserve)

GO(P)39/73/AD dated 12..02..1973

GO(P) No. 443/06/F&WLD dated 31..10..2006

1973

643.6600

7

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (Tiger Reserve)

F1-2854/AD dated 11-08-1950 G-11025/34/FRY(PT) dated 29-08-1977

1950

925.0000

8

Neyyar WLS

GO(MS)871/58 dated 06..08..1958

1958

128.0000

9

Peechi-Vazhani WLS

GO(MS)871/58 dated 06..08..1958

1958

125.0000

10

Wayanad WLS

GO(MS)182/73/AD dated 30..05..1973

1973

344.4400

11

Idukki WLS

GO.7898/FM3/76/AD dated 09.02.76

1976

70.0000

12

Peppara WLS

GO(P)379/83/AD dated 21..12..1983

1983

53.0000

13

Thattekkad B.S

GO.35743/FM3/83/AD dated 27..08..83

1983

25.0000

14

Shendurney WLS

GO(P)258/84/AD dated 25..08..1984

1984

171.0000

15

Chinnar WLS

GO(P)229/84/AD dated 04..08..1984

1984

90.4400

16

Chimmony WLS

GO(P)259/84/AD dated 25..08..1984

1984

85.0000

17

Aralam WLS

GO(P)300/84/AD dated 15..10..1984

1984

55.0000

18

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary

G.O(MS) No.42/04/F&WLD dated 31..08..2004

2004

0.0274

19

Kurinjimala Sanctuary

G.O.(P)36/2006/F&WLD dated 06-10-2006

2006

32.0000

20

Choolannur Pea Fowl Sanctuary

G.O.(P) 24/2007/F&WLD dated 15-05-2007

2007

3.4200

21

Malabar Sanctuary

G.O (P) 26/2009 / F&WLD dated    05-06-2009

2009

74.2150

22

Kottiyoor Wildlife Sanctuary

G.O (P) 17/2011 / F&WLD dated    01-03-2011

2011

30.3798

 

Community Reserve

23.

Kadalundi-Vallikunnu Community Reserve

G.O(MS)No.66/2007/F&WL dated 17-10-2007

2007

1.5000

 

TOTAL

 

3213.2372

 

Protected Area

            A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.(IUCN definition)                                                                         

Wildlife sanctuaries

Wildlife sanctuaries are mainly intended to ensure natural conditions necessary to protect nationally significant species, biotic communities or physical features of the environment where these require specific human manipulation for their perpetuation. Each sanctuary has separate management plan and the extent of the sanctuary has been divided into zones with specific management prescriptions. Buffer zone will have limited forestry activity, tourism zone will have tourist visit facilities and core zone will be the sanctum sanctorum and will not have activity except research and monitoring. The protection afforded to the sanctuaries has produced salutary effect on the increase of wild animal population.

National Parks

National Parks are large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible, spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational, and visitor opportunities.

Biosphere Reserve

Biosphere reserves are intended to provide in situ conservation of plants, animals and micro or­ganisms, not in isolation but in their totality as part of the wider ecosystem. The major functions of the biosphere are conser­vation as an open system, sustainable utilization of resources, research and assessment of the impact of research through monitoring, awareness and training of the people, and co­operation between the national and international network. India’s first Biosphere Reserve is is Nilgiri Biosphere reserve spanning over the forests of Kerala, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka with a total area of 5520 km2. Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve was formed in 2002 spanning over the forests of Kerala and Tamil Nadu

Sl.

No

Name of BR

Extent (Sq. Km)

Forests areas included as Kerala part

1

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

1455.40

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

Silent valley National Park

Nilambur South (New Amarambalam, Karimpuzha)

Mannarkkad (Attappady)

Palakkad (Siruvani Reserved Forests)

Nilambur North, (Chakkikuzhy, Kozhipara, Punchakolly, Ex.Karulai Range (Nilambur Kovilakom)

Kozhikode (kuttyadi, Thamarassery, Vested Forests)

Wayanad South (Kalpetta)

2

Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve

1828

Neyyar

Peppara and

Shendurney wildlife sanctuaries

Achencoil

Thenmala

Konni

Punalur and

Thiruvananthapuram territorial divisions and

Agasthyavanam Biological Park Range.

 

 

Tiger reserve

Tiger reserves are constituted for giving special protection to the highly endangered tiger species which once abounded the forests in the country. Since the population has started dwindling it was found necessary to afford special protection to this species. Accordingly many protected areas, where tiger population was found satisfactory, were brought under the 'Project Tiger’. In Kerala Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary has been selected and declared as 'Tiger Reserves’.

Sl.

No

Name

Core or critical tiger habitats

Notification

Buffer zone

Notification

1.   

Periyar Tiger Reserve

881 km2

Includes

733km2-Periyar WLS proper;

148 km2-area of Goodrickal Range of Ranni Division

G.O(P) No. 75/07/F& WLD dt.31/12/2007

 

Area of Goodrickal range handed over vide G.O (MS)88/2010/F&WLD dt.23/12/2010

44 km2

Includes

Tourism zone-10km2;

Periyar Lake-16 km2;

Buffer zone to Sabarimala, pilgrimage, related establishments etc-10 km2 ;

Human settlements, roads, offices etc-8 km2

G.O(P)No.18/2011/F&WLD dt.22/03/2011

2.   

Parambikulam Tiger Reserve

390.89 km2

Includes

245.128 km2  area of Parambikulam WLS;

42.99 km2- Nemmara

42.24 km2-Chalakkudy; 60.53 km2- Vazhachal

G.O(P)No. 53/2009/F&WLD dated 16/12/2009

252.772 km2

Buffer zone within Parambikulam WLS-39.872 km2

Buffer zone outside Pmbklm WLS-212.9 km2

(Nemmara-46.27 km2;

Chalakkudy-11.41 km2;

Vazhachal-155.22 km2)

G.O(P)No. 54/09/F&WLD dated 17/12/2009

 

Elephant Reserve

The Project Elephant scheme was launched by the Government of India in 1991 for better conservation of elephant through protection and management of their habitat.  Under Project Elephant, Government of Kerala (GoK) notified 4 elephant Reserves namely Wayanad(1200 km 2),Nilambur (1419 km2), Anamudi(3728 km2) and Periyar (3742 km2) Elephant Reserves, vide Order No. G.O (P) No. 19/2002/F&WLD dated 02-04-2002.  The Project Elephant programme envisages ecological restoration of the existing natural habitats and migratory routes of elephants, scientific and planned management of elephant habitats and viable population, mitigation of human-elephant conflicts in prone areas and promoting research on elephants, their habitats and management.  Periodic population estimation of elephants are conducted on Elephant Reserve basis.  Figures of elephant population as per the estimation conducted in 2005,2007 and 2010 jointly by Forest and Wildlife Department, KFRI and Periyar Foundation are as follows:

 

 

 

Name of the ER

 

 

Effective elephant habitat

 

Elephant Density

(No/km2)

(in 2011)

Block Count

Dung Count

2005

2007

2010

2005

2007

2010

Wayanad

934.16

0.2697

636

490

542

882

1240

1483

Nilambur

1142.3

0.1745

281

87

205

334

663

647

Anamudi

2817.45

0.2985

1547

1289

 

1494

2299

2505

2086

Periyar

3026.41

0.2199

1100

1136

1279

1620

1660

1810

Total

7920.32

 

3564

3002

3520

5135

6068

6026

 

Community Reserve

            An area is declared as Community Reserve by the State Government for protecting flora and fauna, traditional or cultural heritage or values in the interests of an individual or society, in areas where there is no wildlife protection centre. India’s Forest Community Reserve was declared in Kerala, Kadalundy – Vallikunnu Community Reserve in 2007.

World Heritage Site

The World Heritage Committee an independent body of 21 States Parties to the 1972 World Heritage Convention, of UNESCO considered the inscription of forest areas of   the Western Ghats on the World Heritage List in the meeting held from 24 June to 6 July, in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation. The mountain chain of the Western Ghats represents geomorphic features of immense importance with unique biophysical and ecological processes. The site’s high montane forest ecosystems influence the Indian monsoon weather pattern. Moderating the tropical climate of the region, it presents one of the best examples of the monsoon system in the planet. The site also has an exceptionally high level of biological diversity and endemism. It is recognized as one of the world’s eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity. The forests of the site include some of the best representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests anywhere and are home to at least 325 globally threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species.

The Kerala part of Western Ghats included in the World Heritage Site are divided in to 5 clusters  as follows

·         Agasthyamalai Sub Cluster

o    Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary

o    Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary

o    Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary

o    Kulathupuzha Range

o    Palode Range

·         Periyar Sub Cluster

o    Periyar Tiger Reserve

o    Ranni Division

o    Konni Division

o    Achencovil Division

·         Anamalai Sub Cluster

o    Eravikulam National Park

o    Mankulam Division

o    Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

o    Mannavan Shola

o    Karianshola

·         Nilgiri Sub Cluster

o    Silent Valley National Park

o    New Amarambalam Reserve Forests

o    Kalikavu Range

o    Attappady Reserve Forests.

·         Thalakkavery Sub Cluster

o        Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

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