A way to preserve biodiversity: India’s inspiring tradition of sacred groves – Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel

In commissioning a High-Level Working Group headed by the space scientist K. Kasturirangan to study the recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), the Ministry of Environment and Forests hoped to resolve an impasse. It now appears that far from nearing resolution, the question of preserving and ensuring holistic development of the Ghats is enmeshed in more controversy. Read more >>

Source: Hotspot in a spot – The Hindu
Address : http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/hotspot-in-a-spot/article4667395.ece
Date Visited: Sun May 19 2013 14:24:03 GMT+0200 (CEST)

An open letter from Madhav Gadgil says Kasturirangan panel report will rob the region of its biodiversity

Dear Dr. K. Kasturirangan,

J.B.S. Haldane, the celebrated 19th-century scientist and humanist who quit England protesting its imperialistic invasion of Suez to become an Indian citizen, once said: “Reality is not only stranger than we suppose, but stranger than we CAN suppose!” I could never have imagined that you would be party to a report such as that of the High Level Working Group on Western Ghats, but, then, reality is indeed stranger than we can suppose!

In our report to the Ministry of Environment & Forests, based on extensive discussions and field visits, we had advocated a graded approach with a major role for grassroots-level inputs for safeguarding the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats. […]

It is vital to think of maintenance of habitat continuity, and of an ecologically and socially friendly matrix to ensure long-term conservation of biodiversity-rich areas, and this is what we had proposed.

Moreover, freshwater biodiversity is far more threatened than forest biodiversity and lies largely in what you term cultural landscapes. Freshwater biodiversity is also vital to livelihoods and nutrition of large sections of our people. […]

India’s cultural landscape harbours many valuable elements of biodiversity. Fully 75 per cent of the population of lion-tailed macaque, a monkey species confined to the Western Ghats, thrives in the cultural landscape of tea gardens. […]

It is our people, rooted in India’s strong cultural traditions of respect for nature, who have venerated and protected the sacred groves, the Ficus trees, the monkeys and the peafowl.

Apparently, all this is to be snuffed out. It reminds me of Francis Buchanan, an avowed agent of British imperialism, who wrote in 1801 that India’s sacred groves were merely a contrivance to prevent the East India Company from claiming its rightful property. […]

Madhav Gadgil, Chairman, Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel

Source: Shocking betrayal on Western Ghats – The Hindu
Address : http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/shocking-betrayal-on-western-ghats/article4724986.ece
Date Visited: Sun May 19 2013 14:28:08 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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