New Experiment: Safeguarding Private Forests as a Long-Term Conservation Strategy


Nirmal Kulkarni
Member, Goa State Wildlife Advisory Board.
Director, Mhadei Research Center and Wildernest Nature resort.
Date: 28th September, 2013
Time: 04:50 P.M
The wildlife corridors and critical habitats that are outside the Protected Area network of India’s Western Ghats have always been seen as an area of concern from a conservation perspective. Unprotected, exploited and seldom understood in terms of their diversity as well as functionality for humans and wildlife, these areas are often lost to rapid industrialization and expansion.
A decade and a half ago one such area, on the tri-state boundaries of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, was under threat by vested interests in mining, timber lobbying and monoculture plantations. A group of professionals from various walks of life came together to protect this area for its ecological and aesthetic value, and managed to conserve it using a combination of field research, community outreach, eco tourism and hard-core wildlife conservation.
This approach helped safeguard an important large mammal corridor between two protected regions, a watershed area for Goa’s lifeline river the Mandovi. It also helped set an example and provide a platform for further work, in what is now known as the Mhadei Bio region.
A successful and sound ecotourism program ensured international recognition to the region. This talk is based on lessons from a unique project, now considered as one of the beacons to follow in South India.
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