NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN

(Supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests- GOI and the United Nations Development Programme)

 

One-day regional workshop for the state of Kerala

On November 4, 2000 (9.30 am to 5.00 pm)

At the Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi

 

Minutes of the workshop

 

The one-day regional workshop for the state of Kerala to contribute to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was co-hosted by the Kerala Forest Research Institute, Kerala Biodiversity Committee and Care Earth, Chennai.

The inaugural session of the workshop was chaired by Shri P. K. Surendranathan Asari I.F.S., Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Kerala Forest Department.

Dr. J. K. Sharma, Director, KFRI welcomed the participants to the institute and the workshop. Dr.Sharma said that following the silver jubilee celebrations of the institute, it is apt that the KFRI is playing host to the regional workshop on NBSAP which is bound to have lasting effect on the country’s policy making. He also mentioned that the institute has been one of the pioneering institutions working on biodiversity conservation in the Western Ghats. Dr. Sharma made a special mention of the voluminous data on biodiversity that has been accumulated by the institute.

Dr. Sharma highlighted the lead taken by the state of Kerala in conservation by constituting the Kerala Biodiversity Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. M. R. Das (STAC). Following this, the institute has formulated the Kerala Biodiversity Order using a participatory multi-stakeholder approach. Dr. Sharma emphasised on the need to develop micro-level plans to effectively contribute to national processes and policies. In conclusion, Dr.Sharma thanked Shri Asari and all the participants for their participation.

Dr. R.J.Ranjit Daniels, Coordinator – Western Ghats Eco-region gave an overview of the NBSAP with special emphasis on the Western Ghats. Following are the main aspects of the presentation.

 

The goals of the NBSAP are as follows:

 

The scope of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action plan is as follows:

 

 

It is proposed that the action plan will cover:

 

However, further data / information on the following features need to be obtained to develop the strategy and action plan.

 

Dr. Daniels concluded by stating that the current workshop should ideally culminate in the identification of issues in biodiversity conservation that can be effectively addressed by various experts / organisations and institutions within a set time frame.

 

Shri P. K. Surendranathan Asari, I.F.S., PCCF – KFD in his inaugural address highlighted the lead taken by the state of Kerala in constituting the Kerala Biodiversity Committee. However, the PCCF also expressed his anguish over the fact that many of the conservation programmes or efforts remain dormant or fail to adopt a time-bound review process. He also stated that many of the programmes are stalled or put in abeyance since they are linked with the tenure of the government.

Biodiversity conservation, Shri Asari said was an issue which has deep and strong linkages with socio-economic and cultural dimensions. Shri Asari therefore emphasised the need to actively involve local communities in conservation efforts. Recalling the ineffectiveness of developmental programmes initiated during the early years of the country’s independence, Shri Asari said their failure was largely due to the hands-off or charity driven approach that was adopted then. The PCCF stressed on the complexity of the issue under consideration and suggested that a mechanism which addresses all facets of biodiversity conservation needs to be evolved. He emphasised the need to make this mechanism transparent. Biodiversity, Shri Asari said, is wealth that has been handed over to us to be safely handed over to the future generations.

Dr. P.S. Easa, Scientist in-charge, Wildlife Biology, KFRI under whose coordination the workshop was organised proposed the vote of thanks.

The following three thematic issues that are of immediate relevance to Kerala were identified for in-depth discussion.

 

  1. Forests and biodiversity
  2. Agro-ecosystems and domesticated biodiversity
  3. Aquatic biodiversity

Using a common framework deliberations were held on each of the topics listed above. The group leaders presented a summarised version of the discussions (Tables 1 to 3) to the larger group for discussion, in the concluding session which was held under the chairmanship of Dr. J. K. Sharma.

Table 1: Forests and biodiversity

Chair: Dr. Renuka, KFRI

 

Issues

Solution/s

Drug raw material scarcity

 

 

Other non-wood forest produce

  • Expanding resource base
  • Use of alternate parts
  • Bioprospecting
  • Expanding the resource base and studying the population status

Loopholes in forest laws

Effective implementation through peoples’ participation

Collection of wild relatives of species for research purposes

To be sorted out with the authorities

Inventorisation gaps

Flora/fauna – wherever gaps exist, emphasis on lower groups and microbes

Contd…

 

Issues

Solution/s

Impact of poverty on biodiversity

Generate income through enterprises. For example, the eco-development plan of the forest department

Loss of biodiversity through various activities

Rehabilitation after evaluation of existing population status

Destructive sampling

Should be regulated

Impact of fire, tourism, pilgrimage and grazing

Create awareness among people

Human wildlife conflict

Power fencing, trenching, rehabilitation along the boundaries

Biodiversity documentation

Database to be generated on little known groups and the consolidated database needs to be prioritised

Introduction of exotic species

Should not be allowed in natural forests. Certain areas to be demarcated as production forests

Inter-state issues

Poaching and smuggling

Periodical interaction between the forest officials of the adjoining states

Fragmentation of forests

Making corridors

Shifting people from the periphery

Interstate issues

To be addressed through periodical interaction

 

Identification of institutions for various activities relating to biodiversity

 

Following the presentation, discussions were held on the following solutions proposed by the group

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3 Aquatic biodiversity

Chair: Dr. K. V.Jayachandran

 

Identification of issues

  • Compilation of information on aquatic fauna and flora of Western Ghats , Kerala (KFRI, NBFGR, CWRDM, ZSI, … individuals and NGOs)
  • Centralised facility for gathering biodiversity information
  • (NBFGR – NATP programme)
  • Centralised referral museum
  • Promotion of artificial propagation of native species like Tor.khudree, H.curnuca, Clarias dussumieri, etc
  • Policy formulation for exotic species
  • Impact assessment of exotic / transplanted species on the natives
  • Policy formulation to check unauthorised shipment / transfer of germ plasm of endemic species
  • Endemic as well as endangered species conservation by captive breding/ river ranching
  • Trade of wild-caught ornamental fishes
  • ‘Oothapidutham’(capture of ripe fishes) during breeding run
  • Mitigation of environmental problems like reclamation, pollution, sand-mining, poisoning of fish, dynamiting, construction of dams, coir retting, salinity ingress, aquatic weeds

  • Restoration of habitats including mangroves

Prioritisation of issues so identified

  • Compilation of information
  • Centralised facility for information/data collection
  • Centralised referral museum
  • Captive breeding and river ranching of endemic and endangered species
  • Impact assessment of exotic/transplanted species
  • Policy formulation for import or export of species
  • Trade of wild caught ornamental fishes
  • Promotion of native species for aquaculture
  • Environmental issues

Review of ongoing efforts

  • Categorisation of endangered fishes, herpetofauna using IUCN criteria by NBFGR and CBSG
  • Cryopreservation of many endemic fishes by NBFGR
  • Characterisation of stocks of endemic species by NBFGR
  • Detailed inventory of fish and shell fishes by NBFGR, College of Fisheries (KAU), CUSAT, ZSI, KFRI
  • Aquatic plants, mangroves, KU and CES
  • Proposed fish sanctuary at Vembanad lake at Kumarakom and Kinjumangalam

 

Major areas of discord

  • Establishment of taxonomic status of biota
  • Elimination of ‘unwanted’ fishes, weeds etc
  • Clearance of mangrove areas

Review of institutions/mechanisms in place for conservation

  • NBFGR: Cryopreservation, genetic characterisation, captive breeding, river ranching, documentation
  • KFRI: Inventory of aquatic forms (fauna), background, literature, documentation and management strategies
  • College of fishes (KAU): Biodiversity, freshwater prawns, captive breeding of ornamental fishes and prawns
  • CUSAT: Biodiversity studies
  • ZSI: Biodiversity and documentation
  • CESS: Biodiversity, ecology of mangroves, monitoring by remote sensisng, socioeconomics
  • Aquatic biology and fisheries (KU): Biology and ecology of fishes

Major gaps

  • Lack of information on micro-organisms and several endemic fishes (biology)
  • Lack of experts in updating, inventorying bioresources
  • Lack of institutional network

Inter-state issues

Unintentional transport of pathogens, parasites and weed fishes along with carp seeds from neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh

Possible strategies

  • Aquatic hot spots
  • Awareness programmes

 

The meeting concluded with a decision to hold further local level meetings across the state by KFRI (nodal agency for Kerala) to facilitate the inclusion of local level pertinent issues. It was also decided that following the workshop, electronic interaction amongst the coordinating agencies and the participants would be initiated or enhanced for enabling contribution to the strategy and action plan at the state as well as regional level.

 

 

Annexure 1

 

Programme

 

9.00 am onwards

Registration

Inaugural Session

Chairman - Shri P.K.Surendranathan Asari I.F.S

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Kerala Forest Department

10.00 – 10.10 am

Welcome

Dr. J. K. Sharma

Director, KFRI

10.10-10.30 am

Overview of the NBSAP Programme

Dr. R. J. Ranjit Daniels

Coordinator, NBSAP/Wghats Ecoregion

10.30 – 10.50 am

Chairman’s remarks

Shri P.K.Surendranathan Asari I.F.S

PCCF,Kerala Forest Department

10.50- 11.00 am

Vote of thanks an formation of the thematic groups

Dr. P.S. Easa

Scientist I/C – Wildlife Biology, KFRI

11.00 – 11.15 am

Tea

11.15 – 1.00 pm

Group discussion

1.00 – 1.45 pm

Lunch

1.45 – 3.00 pm

Group discussion (contd..)

3.00 – 3.15 pm

Tea

3.15 – 5.00 pm

Concluding Session

Chairman: Dr. J. K. Sharma

Moderator: Dr. R. J. Ranjit Daniels

Presentation by the groups and discussion

 

 

 

Annexure 2

 

Thematic groups

 

 

  1. Forests and biodiversity
  2. Agro-ecosystems and domesticated biodiversity
  3. Aquatic biodiversity

 

 

Framework for discussion

 

The group may kindly consider the following points for discussion under each of the themes

 

  1. Identification of issues pertinent to the theme
  2. Prioritisation of the issues so identified
  3. Review of ongoing efforts in the state of Kerala
  4. Major areas of discord
  5. Review of institutions and / or mechanisms in place for conservation
  6. Major gaps in research and management
  7. Inter-state issues in biodiversity conservation
  8. Possible strategies for mitigation and / or action