INTRODUCTION CONTINUED

 

Ecosystem Service Cost

 

 

Over the years the Ecologists have always tried to calculate the type and cost of  service rendered by a complex and large Ecosystems. They have listed that an Ecosystem renders about 17 different types of service to the humanity. Value of some of them can be calculated, but with some difficulty, while the value of other services are unfathomable. How could one value the cost of the species ? which has evolved along the other organisms of the System and  since then has become an integral and inseparable part of the system. One of such estimates made after intricate calculation by R. Costanza et al., 3 . The calculations reveal that   the Ecosystem of the World provides service worth US $ 54 Trillion while that GDP of the entire World is only about US $ 18 Trillion.! ( Fig. 1 )

 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES VALUE (trillion $US)     

    Nature of Service

 Value in US $

         Remarks

    Soil formation                       

17.1

 
    Recreation         3.0  
    Nutrient Cycling         2.3  
    Water Regulation and Supply         2.3  
    Climate Regulation         1.8  
    Habitat         1.4  
    Flood and Strom protection         1.1  
    Food and raw material production         0.8  
    Genetic resources/Biodiversity          0.8  Estimate is too low, it is unfathomable
    Atmospheric Gas Balance         0.7  
    Pollination         0.4  
    All other services         1.6  
    Total Value of all services       33.3  

                 .

Fig. 1 : From R. Costanza et al.,2  (1997),

The estimate, of course, is outdated,  but it still gives valuable insight into cost of  Service. In the world map presented by Costanza et al.,2  the  Western Ghats are depicted in Red showing a value of   US $ 10,000 /hector/year ( Fig. 2 ). For the entire range of Western Ghats this works out to a mind boggling  US $ 3 Trillion per year. While gross GDP of our country is  US $ 417 billion. This clearly illustrates the value of  Ecosystems and their ‘free’ service  to us. It should be stressed here that some of the services, like Biodiversity,  can never be duplicated by Human societies, even if they wish to invest huge sums of money.

Fig. 2 Global map of the value of  ecosystem services.Costanza et al.,2 1997

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fascinating Western Ghats

 

 

 

 

Dr Subhash Chandran

 

 

 

BNHS.,

 

Dr S A Hussain,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Institute,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Saldana,

 

 

CES,

 

 

Dr Ranjith Daniels,

 

 

 

ATREE

 

 

 

Dr N A Madhyastha

 

Dr Gopalakrishna Bhat,

Dr Ullas Karanth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sahyadri Environment Forum.

 

In the name of development, modern civilized society is  slowly but systematically ‘Killing this Goose which is laying the Golden eggs’. Our sincere attempt is aimed only at saving this valuable system rich in Biodiversity rendering very valuable, irreplaceable life sustaining  service  for generations to come.  

 

The Western Ghats with its rich and dense forests and wealth of wild life have always fascinated and attracted Biologists, Naturalists, Wild lifers and Institutions specializing on Environment from all over the World. In the recent past encroachment and destruction of  Forests has also attracted the attention of our Legal system. Only a few of the outstanding examples are enumerated below, not in any particular order or sequence.

 Dr Subhash Chandran, a serious researcher who has done extensive work on species diversity of Western Ghats traces the history of the region right from earliest stone age. He laments the way in which the Western Ghats suffered severe damages during the British regime.

Bombay Natural History Society, ever since its inception in  1897, has been doing excellent service, it has listed innumerable Animals and plants.

Dr S A Hussain, former Vice President of Bird Life International and  former associate of legendry late Dr Salim Ali, has conducted remarkable studies on the Avian fauna of Western Ghats. Dr Hussain and his associates have also conducted a Seminar on " Biodiversity of Western Ghats" under the auspices of Biodiversity Initiative Trust,  Mangalore, together with Dr Prabhakar Achar, former Professor and Head of Zoology, Bhuvanendra College, Karkala. They are rendering wonderful service, listing and   protection of Flora and Fauna of Western Ghats.

French Institute, sitting in a far off place Pondichery near Channai has conducted extensive studies especially on flora of Deccan in general and Western Ghats in particular. Their classification of different types of forest of the region is a land mark system which is most often referred in the annals of  Flora  of the Country. Using most modern techniques such as Satellite Imagery they have produced very informative series of Maps, including 3-D imagery. Map thus drawn by Dr Pascal and his able colleagues has been followed in this report. 

Dr Saldana, is an Authority of flora of Western Ghats. His works are well known in the field of Plant Taxonomy.  

Center for Environmental Studies, located at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore,  led by Prof Madhav Gadgil, has done extensive studies on the Flora as well as Fauna of Western Ghats.

Dr Ranjith Daniels, Director, Care Earth Foundation, channai,    an Authority on Fauna of Western Ghats of northern to southern part of Karnataka as well as several other area of the Country, has not only envisaged keen interest in our project but has agreed to be our consultant. He is also taking active part in compiling the KESA report. 

ATREE group, also based at Bangalore has conducted extensive survey of Flora of Ghats, using in situ survey as well as Remote sensing techniques. Their publication on CD, Sasya Sahyadri is a land mark publication.

Dr N A Madhyastha of Malacalogy unit working at Poorna Prajna College, Udupi has conducted in depth study of  Fresh Water Mollusks of Western Ghats.

Dr Gopalakrishna Bhat, also of Poorna Prajna College, is considered as one of the authorities on the taxonomy of Flora of Western Ghats.  

Group led by former conservator of Forests, Dr Chinappa, and Dr Ullas Karanth, Sri Niren Jain, Sri D V Girish, have contributed to mainly towards understanding the intricacies of Life of Tigers of Western Ghats. They have also created new sanctuaries for tigers. Creation of Kuduremukh wild Life Sanctuary and later filing the PIL against KIOCL should be credited to their group. Unfortunately their group got into trouble for blowing whistle against the Forest Department.     

These preceding  are just  summaries  of some of the most recent studies. However, interest on the Western Ghats, in fact   dates back to antiquity ( Subhas Chandran ).

This proposal envisages providing serious and critical protection in the form of statutory regime for that part Western Ghats which fall in the districts of Udupi, Shimoga, Chickmagalore of Karnataka. The present proposal has been drafted in line with a similar proposal presented to MoEF by Sahyadri Environment Forum.

This proposal stresses protection, preservation and promotion of what is left of Western Ghats between South of Sharavathi River, to the North of Latitude 130N upto Mudigere ( Further details of the areas along with maps could be found  under Chapter 2 ).  The sensitive areas included in this report should be brought under protective regime. At least a 25 km band, on the Eastern part of the Western Ghats which falls in the Rain shadow area should also be declared and protected as  Buffer zone.

 

The sole purpose of this proposal is to request the Central Government to provide legal protection measurers to avoid sitting polluting industries such as Thermal Power plants, especially based on Coal, Mining, Mega Irrigation projects, and destructive Agricultural and Land use patterns which cause irreparable damage to the Ecosystem of the Western Ghats. The area should be declared as Ecologically Sensitive Area under Sec. 3 (2) v, and Rule 5 (iv) (v) 7(iv) of environment protection Act of 1986. Under the purview of Section 5 (v) of the environment ( Protection ) Rules, of 1986, the central Government is empowered to consider “ the Biological diversity of the Area which, in the opinion of the Central Government need to be preserved”

 

Based on the experience thus gained to protect SESA and KESA areas, the protective measurers can be extended to entire Western Ghats. 

 

 

 

1.2 International Recognition of the Importance of Western Ghats.

Conservation International,

 

Wildlife International,

 

 

 

 

Earth Summit

 

 

 

 

National Geographic Society,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Magazine,

 

WWF International

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Life International,

 

 

UNESCO

 

 

Conservation International, Washington DC has classified the Western Ghats as a ‘Biodiversity Hot Spot’.

Publications like “Putting Biodiversity on the Map “ ( 1992)  and “Global Directory of Endemic Bird Areas” ( 1996 ) published by Wildlife International, Cambridge, UK has officially classifies the Western Ghat area as one of the significant “ Endemic Bird Areas (EBA )” of the World.

 

The Earth Summit at Rio, in 1992, classified the Western Ghats as one of the 12 Ecological Hot Spots of the Planet on the grounds that the area has one of the highest concentration of Flora and Fauna. Only three other areas , peninsular Malaysia, South America and Africa, have comparable Ecological endowment.

Western Ghats has been described as an area containing “ a large number of Endemic Species, some traced back to forebears on the ancient Supercontinent Gondwana, have evolved on India’s isolated Western Mountain Ranges. 16 Bird species and at least 1500 plant species live only here”. This tribute comes from National Geographic Society  in its publication “Diversity of Life” ( 1999 ). In fact the discovery of very rare and ancient remnant of a species of Frog Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis goes to prove this point beyond doubt. Geoffery C Ward, in a special article, which appeared in the January 2002 issue of National Geographic, observes that “ A delicate wild Begonia and a shy Lion tailed Macaque have known only one home, the dense rain forests of Western Ghat Mountain Range. That world is fragmenting fast, a victim of India’s surging population and headlong eagerness to modernize …” The article record that  “ by the end of 20th century the 62,000 Sq.km of undisturbed forest that are believed to have covered the Ghats at the century’s beginning had been reduced to fewer than 5000”. He declares that the principal threats are “Forest fragmentation, expanding agriculture, dams and mines.”  The article is illustrated by photographs of Frans Lanting, the photo of PeaCock about to takeoff is indeed exquisite,  ( Fig. 3 ), this could well be considered as  a tribute to our National Bird.


 

“ a large number of Endemic Species, some traced back to forebears on the ancient Supercontinent Gondwana, have evolved on India’s isolated Western Mountain Ranges. 16 Bird species and at least 1500 plant species live only here”.  National Geographic Society


 

In Dec 1998, the Time Magazine listed  2180 plants species which are unique to the Western Ghats, thus recognizing the area as a Biodiversity sensitive and unique spot.

In 1997, the WWF International, of USA and  Fish & Wildlife Conservation Society, New York , lists Western Ghats as Level 1 Tiger Conservation Unit (TCU) with 55 points and placed it at 8th rank among  such sites of the World.  Level 1 TCUs are considered as the highest priority zones which should be the target of International and Regional conservation efforts, on  page 18  of their joint publication “ A Framework for Identifying High Priority Areas and Actions for conservation of Tigers in the Wild”.

 

Bird Life International has recognized the Western Ghat Area as one of the most sensitive areas of Asia. They have in fact brought out an excellent Book on the birds of Western Ghats so as to commemorate  the Bird diversity of the Ghats.  

Under the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Program, provisions and compulsion exists to declare the entire Western Ghats as WORLD HERITAGE SITE.

 

1.3  Official Policies of GOI in relation to Western Ghats.

WGDP.,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOI.,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seventh plan,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eighth plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Department of Biotechnology and Department of Space,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr (Mrs) Manju Sharma,Secretary Min. of Science Technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sri. G Madhavan Nair,Chairman, ISRO.

 

 

 

 

 

                              

Dr. P S Roy, Director, IIRS, Dehradun.

As early as 1970s the Government of India had expressed serious concern for the Ecology of Western Ghats. Planning Commission initiated Western Ghat Developmental Program (WGDP ) to cater to special developmental needs of Western Ghats “ with due regard to conservation of Ecology” The projects listed were restricted to Minor irrigation schemes, Soil conservation, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Tourism and Aforestation.

 

Government of India had expressed more concerned about the Ecological well being of the Western Ghats, by the time the 6th plan was launched. The Govt. emphesis was shifted from beneficiary oriented schemes of earlier plans to projects involving Ecological conservation and restoration.  Watershed Development programs were taken on pilot basis. States were directed to prepare special Eco-development Plans.

 

Seventh plan saw further refinement in the guiding principles of the Western Ghat Developmental plans.

 

Ø Maintenance of Ecological Balance essential for     life support system.

Ø Preservation of Genetic Diversity

Ø Restoration of Ecological damage caused by human interactions,

Ø Creation of awareness among the people and educating them on far reaching

implications of Ecological degradation and securing their active preservation for eco developmental schemes.

This approach was maintained in the Eighth as well as Ninth plans. However the state of Western Ghat does not show much improvement.

Ecologically sensitive nature of Western Ghats was given cognizance by other Ministries as well. Acting on advice from PMO, the Department of Industrial Development of the Ministry on Industry, GOI, identified several districts in the country as “Proteted Districts”, and delimiting the kind of Industries that could considered for setting up in these areas. Entire Eastern and south Eastern belt of the Western Ghats in Goa , for example, was declared as a “Protected District” on account of its Ecological fragile nature.

 

Department of Biotechnology and Department of Space, of  Central Government have taken special interest in Biodiversity Characterization and have brought out an excellent publications, excerpts of which are quoted in this as well as other sections of this proposal.

“ India is known for its Genetic and species richness in a wide variety of Ecological Zones. Increasing human interventions and excessive exploitation of resources have resulted in great modification of the natural habitat and provide alarming  signals of accelerated Boidiversity loss.

 

Though India has well defined programs in situ Biodiversity conservation through protected Area Net work, the need is felt to bring more area under protection. It is in this direction the Department of Biotechnology and Department of Space have joined hands for creation of an important National database for Biodiversity prospecting and conservation planning using Satellite remote sensing data in conjunction with the field data” Dr (Mrs) Manju Sharma, Secretary Min. of Science Technology.  (2003 ).

 

It is very evident from this statement that the present efforts to protect  the Germ plasm are far from being adequate, and realizing this several Concerned NGOs are compelling the Govt. to declare the Entire Western Ghat area as Environment Sensitive Area (ESA) .

 

“ India, as one of the Maga-biodiversity centers, with unique floral and Faunal Heritage, varied climatic and Topographic realms of the Country has supported enormous biological wealth along with its huge Population. There is urgent need to conserve this biological wealth on sustainable basis for the future generation.  Towards this, there has been more concerned efforts by several Government as well as Voluntary organizations, over the past few years.” Sri. G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO. ( 2003 ).

 

“Thus, there is urgent need to conserve Germplasm in situ before it is lost for ever, because a large percentage of Biological wealth and its importance is unknown to us.”  Dr. P S Roy, Director, IIRS, Dehradun. ( 2003 )

 

Everybody seems to be saying ‘Save Western Ghats, save before  it is too late’ but not much is happening. So as to hasten the process of solid conservative measurers the our group has joined hands with SESA group.

 

…….Nature has tailored it( Forest ) . It is not for man to erode the sanctity of this area.  It must be returned to nature to provide for whom it was meant; the sheep, the shepherd, the wild flowers, the micro-organisms and the plant and insect life below the turf and in the shrubs at that altitude” Hon Judges Ravi.S.Dhavan & A.B.Srivastava, in a related case  

 

1.4 Official policies of the Karnataka State Government.

Year 1955

 

 

 

 

 

Year 1987

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DANIDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sri T N Godavarman Thirumalpad.

 

 

 

 

Government of Karnataka has officially acknowledged Ecological Sensitivity of the Western Ghats.  Karnatak Govt. was the first State to declare an area as big as 643 sq. km as National Park way back in 1955. Many areas were also notified as Reserve Forests, Sanctuaries, apart from recognizing several areas as State Forests or Protected Areas. 

 

One of the recent declaration was made in 1987 and an area of  600 sq. km has been declared as  Kuduremukh National Park.

 

Govt. of Karnataka has elevated many more areas of Western Ghats as  National Parks or Sanctuaries. Some of the recent declaration pertain to Dandeli, Anshi National Park,  It has notified 609 sq.km areas of Mahadaei Vally, Castle Rock, Anmod,  Krishnapur Caves. They are being linked up with Dandeli and Anshi Areas.

 

In the year 1993, the Sate Government initiated DANIDA team to conduct extensive studies with an objective of “ Integrated management of natural, human and economic resources of Dakshina Kannada Dist., by the year 2002, to measurably move towards sustainable development in the district and to facilitate the introduction of integrated environmental management in other districts” .

After a detailed study lasting for over three years the team brought out 21 volumes on interventions for a master plan on sustainable development. Nearly 13 crores rupees were spent on the project. However, the recommendations of the team were never given a serious thought by the subsequent Governments.

 

No  report, of this nature,  could be considered as complete without the mention of Sri T N Godavarman Thirumalpad. His now legendry case started with a Post Card to Hon. Supreme Court. Sri Godavarman was unhappy as the Forest Department of Tamil Nadu wanted  to cut Trees in the strip of Forest nurtured by his family for generations. He then approached Hon. Supreme Court in through a post card as PIL 202/1995, and rest is a history. For over seven years his case was heard. The case is unique for it is in the nature of ‘Continuous Mandamus’. Special high Power Committee was formulated by the Supreme Court, to go into some of the intricate issues of the cases. More than 700 Interloculatory Appeals have been filed in this case.

 

Supreme Court orders passed in favor of  Godavarman  by Hon Justice B.N. Kirpal, V.N. Khare and M.B. Shah,  have led to fundamental changes that have wide impact on Forest Management of the entire Country. For example:

1) No forest, National Park or Sanctuary can be de-reserved without the approval of the Supreme Court.

2) No non-forest activity is permitted in any National Park or Sanctuary even if prior approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 had been obtained.

3) An interim order in 2000 prohibited the removal of any dead or decaying trees, grasses, driftwood, etc from any area comprising a National Park or Sanctuary. It was also directed that if any order to the contrary had been passed by any State government or other authorities, that order shall be stayed.

4) New authorities, committees and agencies have been set up such as the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Agency.

The Orders issued in favor of Godavarman compelled MoEF  to re- calculate the entire encroached area in the country's forests. Official figure now stands at a whopping  12.5 lakh hectares. As per estimates provided by the various States, the extent of 'encroached' territory amounts to 47,300 hectares in Orissa, 18,940 hectares in West Bengal, 91,000 hectares in Karnataka, 18,600 hectares in Tamil Nadu, 2,54,711 hectares in Assam, 73,000 hectares in Maharashtra, 1,52,000 hectares in Madhya Pradesh, 62,270 hectares in Chattisgarh and 10,040 hectares in Kerala. However, according to the CEC, the 'actual area' under encroachment could be much higher.

In a related case Justice Hon Judges Ravi.S.Dhavan & A.B.Srivastava, ruled that "…….Nature has tailored it( Forest ) . It is not for man to erode the sanctity of this area.  It must be returned to nature to provide for whom it was meant; the sheep, the shepherd, the wild flowers, the micro-organisms and the plant and insect life below the turf and in the shrubs at that altitude”

The MoEF has, in fact, gone a step further and `quantified' the losses ostensibly incurred due to forest encroachments. According to MoEF assessments the `environmental value' of one hectare of `fully-stocked forest of 1.0 density is Rs 126.74 lakh over a period of 50 years. Thus, on the whole, the `environmental loss' due to encroachments on forest land alone is estimated at an mind boggling Rs 4,59,978 crore!!.

1.5   GENESIS OF KESA.

1986

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monkey Fever

 

 

 

JJS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DKP Okkuta

 

 

 

 

Onslaught  by Thermal Power Plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Ravindranath Shanbag,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife First Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kotachadri Environment Forum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protection of  Western Ghat has been one of the eternal mantras of the regional NGOs. However, it was in 1986, that  Save Western Ghat Padayatra  enthused several concerned person interested in Environmental upkeep to come together. This legendary Jatha could be considered as starting point of several NGO movement in the erstwhile Dakshina Kannada.

 

Then later in the wake of the deadly Monkey Fever, the NGOs of the region had taken out big ‘Jathas’ to raise their voice to  protect destruction of Forests of Western Ghat region.

 

Almost at the same time  tough resistance was being put up, single handedly, by the  Jana Jagruthi Samithi (JJS ) based at  Nandikuru, against the proposed 2000 MW NTPC, Thermal Power Plant. But because of changes in the political scenario NTPC withdrew only to be replaced by Cogentrix. At this point of time  the Govt. of Karnataka announced that  it has given clearance to at least 35 Mega Industries, in erstwhile DK, all of which needed water in huge Quantities. While at the other extreme,  the stark reality was that the  same Government directed the local Farmers, to stop pumping water from rivers like Netravathy especially during Summer. By this time the Mega Industries like MRPL and BASF had already made back door entry, and had established firmly.

 

Attempts made by  a Copper Smelter plant was vehemently opposed in the very first meeting, so much so,  the Company decided to shift the venue.

 

At this crucial juncture the NGOs joined hands and formed a confederation the DKP Okkuta. Okkuta managed to launch a very systematic resistance to the Mega Industries, in the form of Dakshina Kannada Ulisi ( Save Dakshina Kannada ) Campaign .

In the ensuing years, the  JJS launched a scathing attack on Cogentrix,  several Law suits were leveled against them, although the JJS could get  decisive victory in the Court battle, Cogentrix lingered for a long time, trying to acquire more land in the guise of building Staff quarters and also trying to influence the locals  by being generous and donating liberally to religious as well as other social functions. It finally withdrew for want of Counter Guarantee form the Central Government,  but only to be replaced by Nagarjuna group.

 

Nagarjuna Group, the Fertilizer giants of Andhra Pradesh, had already put a claim in Power play as far back as 1999,  at a time  when the Cogentrix issue was hot and boiling, and announced  their intention of establishing another 2000 MW Thermal Power plant adjacent to proposed Cogentrix Power plant, an event which was totally disapproved even by the Management of Cogentrix.  Nagarjuna management even started buying degraded land around Yellur and other nearby villages,  for their proposed 2000 MW Power Plant.

 

After the Cogentrix withdrew, Nagarjuna Company  intensified  their attempts to push the Power plant, and in this year they even attempted acquiring huge area of land using Govt. machinery. Their efforts however were refuted by the ever vigilant and enlightened local farmers and JJS members.

 

Between  the years  1996-98  several massive rallies were organized by NGOs of the area and the Government  was pressurized to  formulate a special committee to go into the details of the Carrying Capacity of the erstwhile South Canara. The reason being the Government was bent on permitting large number of polluting Industries which would have damaged the Western Ghats. Karnataka Government yielded to the demands of the Public and promised to established a special committee to study the Carrying Capacity of the area. That the Committee was dead  even before it was formulated,  has gone down the history.

Though most of the NOGs of the Dakshina Kannada were concerned mainly with the rather internal issues such as Health and Hygiene,  well being of Western Ghats was always at their back of mind, and receiving considerable attention.

In a land mark article, published in local weekly 'Taranga', on the proposed onslaught of  Mega Industrilization on Dakshinaka Kannada, Dr Ravindranath Shanbag warned the people of Dakshina Kannada as well as those up the Western Ghats as to the deleterious effects of Polluting gasses on Flora and plantations of Western Ghats, and imminent water problems. The demand for water by these 35 major industries would be so much that  the entire Dakshina Kannada would be submerged in half a meter of water, if Govt. tried to store so much water,  he had warned the people. 

Wildlife First Group probably was the only NGO which is based in DK, and  working extensively on Western Ghats. The enthusiastic and energetic members of the group had trekked extensively in the dense forests of Western Ghats and had scaled several peaks. They were also instrumental in enthusing several youngsters to the adventure and drawn their attention to the  beauty in store for them in Western Ghats. When they discovered that several Adventure seeking groups, misused the facilities and misbehaved in with  forests, they strongly opposed such unwanted actions without any hesitation, and tried to educate them.   The group had volunteered  successfully at that, in convincing several  Adivasi groups to move out of Kuduremukh National Park Area. They had also utilized the grants they had obtained from Foreign Donors to provide better facilities for the National Park Employees with a view to improve their performance in  protecting the Forest areas. Through a historical and a very memorable battle, involving several Courts, the group has been successful in   halting the Iron Ore Mining Activities at Kuduremukh area. Their activities are worthy of immolation.

However, in the recent past the group had no alternative than to publicize  several irregularities like constructing ‘mini’ Dams to block Water, constructing Roads in the core areas, by he Forest Department, all in the name of Development. This has led to bitter ‘war’ between them and the in-charge Forest Officer, which culminated in raiding  the NGO office and confiscating all legal and useful documents. This harassment of active and sincere NGO by Department of Forest is deeply  resented by all the NGO groups of the region.

We are  highly disturbed by this unwarranted and distressing developments and  indeed  has taken the cognizance of the issue and have decided  to incorporate suitable measurers to prevent any such untoward developments in future. 

Out standing work done by Center for Environment Studies led by Prof. Madhav Gadgil, and at ATREE group sphere headed by Prof. S Bawa and K N Ganeshaiah, has been the basis of inspiration and encouragement for our group in taking up this otherwise stupendous task of  writing ESA Report.

We have derived ample inspirations from work of Dr Ashis Khotari and Dr Ranjith  Daniels, on various aspects of Biodiversity and National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (NBSAP). It is the work of these stalwarts which made us hopeful of success of ESA project.    

Efforts of group led by Sri Vittal Hegde of Sringeri are indeed commendable. Their Tunga Ulisi ( Save Tunga River ), Gangamula Ulisi ( Save Gangamula, legendry peak from which three rivers, Tunga, Bhadra and Netravathy, seem to arise )  campaigns  were lead  far into neighboring State of Andhra Pradesh. This led to wide spread awakening of people along the Tunga Bhadra Delta. The Campaign was later supported by Jnana Peetha awardee Prof. U R Anantha Murthy. The movement  created a wide spread support.   

The reason for mentioning the activities of these organizations and Individuals  from far and near  is to highlight the fact that many organizations are seriously working on preserving Biodiversity  of Western Ghats. However we deem it a  privilege to have had the chance to write a report which may lead to furthering the safety of Western Ghats. Our group has borrowed heavily from the works of these great institutions, and we are indeed indebted to them.      

 

It was in the year 2001, the DKP Okkuta was approached by Prof. Sagar Dhara, Environmental Engineer and UNEP Consultant, to write a ESA Report on Karnataka Region of Western Ghats. Although the Report was to be based on secondary data, the Okkuta could not do much, except contacting several Scientific workers in the field. But in 2003, when the SESA report landed in Dakshina Kannada, the real potential and implication of  report was realized, three NGO’s of the region, viz., The Jana Jagruthi Samithi, (JJS) , DKP Okkuta and Udupi-Manipal Chaper of INTACH joined hands to prepare  a similar report for Western Ghat of Karnataka. The group has been named as Kotachadri Environment Forum (KEF ).

  1.6  A word about this proposal.

 

The format followed in the present proposal is based on the guidelines detailed in MoEF’s “ Report  of the committee on Identifying Parameters for Designating Ecologically sensitive Areas in India”  published in the year 2000. Further the SESA report submitted to MoEF in the year 2001, acted as a standard basis on which this report is prepared.

 

Several individuals - Academicians, Environment Engineers, Social Workers of this as well as other region have strived to make this report  possible.

 

It is earnestly hoped that MoEF would seriously consider the proposal presented and would declare the entire Western Ghat or at least the Kotachadri area as   Environmental Sensitive Area and protect the area for the posterity.