eBook | Eco tourism, the challenge of man-animal conflict and recognition of forest rights & Forest of Tigers

What were the focus areas when Project Tiger was launched?

Project Tiger was launched with nine tiger reserves, including Kanha, Corbett and Ranthambore. | To read the full article in The Telegraph, click here >>

The film [Tigerland] focuses on your grandfather’s role in tiger conservation seen through your eyes. What has your role been?

I am in the eco-tourism sphere. I own a wildlife travel company and see how tourism can help the community. A typical problem is wild animals taking away livestock as villagers then get angry and kill the predator. The idea is to reduce man-animal conflict. Tourism is a tool that can be used to provide employment other than farming. That way we can protect the community as well as the tiger and its habitat. We also run Tiger Trust which holds legal training workshops for guards hired in villages surrounding the national parks. They don’t even know what the law is, how to arrest poachers. We bring down lawyers from Delhi and train them with help from the forest department. […]

Source: Sudeshna Banerjee, The Telegraph, 28 July 2019
URL: https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/on-international-tiger-day-discovery-tells-the-story-of-indias-tiger-man/cid/1695385
Date visited: 5 November 2019

If enhancing funds for tiger conservation is high on its agenda, the government is also facing the huge challenge of man-animal conflict. Reports of loss of life, livestock and crops in animal attacks are not uncommon. […]

The Ministry of Environment and Forests revised the allocation for the Project Tiger to Rs.1,216 crore in August 2011, with a change in the funding pattern for the North-east where the States will have to pay only 10 per cent of the total allocation. This also includes enhancement of compensation to the victims of man-animal conflict. Guidelines have already been issued to the States for doubling the compensation.

Project Tiger has been under implementation since 1973.

Initially, the project started with nine reserves, covering an area of 16,339 sq.km., with a population of 268 tigers. At present, there are 39 reserves with an estimated 1,706 tigers. This amounts to over 1 per cent of the total geographical area of the country. The National Tiger Conservation Authority has been strengthened and decentralised with three Regional Offices at Nagpur, Bengaluru and Guwahati now. Approval has also been given to five more reserves in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Detailed revised guidelines have been issued for the implementation of Project Tiger and relocation of villages vis-à-vis the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

Assessment report

A detailed report on the 2010 assessment of the status of tigers, co-predators and their prey shows a countrywide increase of 20 per cent in tiger numbers as against 1,411 tigers in 2006. The country-level assessment, done every four years, also suggested a decline of 12.6 per cent in tiger occupancy from connecting habitats. This has happened in peripheral and dispersal areas having low densities outside tiger reserves and tiger source populations. […]

Increasing population, expanding cities and the creation of huge tourist infrastructure in tiger lands often push the solitude-loving tigers away from their habitats. By conserving and saving tigers, which are described as a symbol of wilderness and well-being of the ecosystem, the entire wilderness ecosystem is conserved, ecologists say. 

However, the NTCA in October opened up 20 per cent of core areas in tiger reserves to tourists and proposed a new conservation fee for the tourism industry. This will be used for development of ecology and uplift of local communities living nearby.

The new guidelines for tiger tourism also make it mandatory for each reserve to have its own specific tourism plan and bars creation of any new tourist infrastructure inside the core areas. […]

Source: “Mission Possible: Living with the big cat” by Aarti Dhar, The Hindu, January 6, 2013
Address : https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/mission-possible-living-with-the-big-cat/article4277167.ece
Date Visited:5 November 2019

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

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Forests Communities and Ecotourism 

This paper on the interactions between communities and forests in the context of ecotourism was submitted to the Indian Forestry Congress held in November 2011. Over the past 8-10 years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of ecotourism enterprises at well established existing destinations. Further, newer destinations have also emerged over the past 2-3 years and continue to do so. Today, it appears that ecotourism is at its peak and it is important that there be extensive debates in the country to understand the implications of ecotourism and to facilitate the positive impacts while mitigating its negative impacts. The paper draws examples from extensive field visits to Dalma, Betla, Tadoba, Panna, Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench, which form the backdrop of the paper. The policy and legislative framework used in the paper are The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, Panchayat Extension to the Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, 1996, the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the guidelines for the creation of special areas in forests and the draft ecotourism guidelines announced by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Class-Code: F03; E30d

Keywords: Ecotourism, Communities, Livelihood, The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, Panchayat Extension to the Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, 1996, the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Land, Tourism Impacts, Tourism, India, EQUATIONS, Conservation, Tiger Habitats, Project TigerSource: http://www.equitabletourism.org/readfull.php?AID=1832

EQUATIONS envisions a just and equitable world, where all people have the freedom and the right to determine their lives and future. | Learn more on the Equations website | Equations blog >>

We envision forms of tourism which are non-exploitative, where decision making is democratised, and access to and benefits of tourism are equitably distributed. EQUATIONS believes in the capacity of individuals and communities to actualise their potential for the well-being of society. We work toward justice, equity, people centred and movement centred activism, democratisation and dialogue.

Everyday we hear that tourism brings economic development, it creates jobs and revenues. But who really benefits from it? The local community, the village elite, or the owner?

There’s been an exponential increase in tourism in India over the last several decades, fueled by the growing economy and disposable incomes. The tourism industry in India has expanded wildly in an unregulated fashion with no regard for environmental, social and cultural impacts.

See also

Accordweb.in | Accord | Articles by co-founder Mari Marcel Thekaekara | Shola Trust

Atree.org | Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & the Environment (posts)

Climate change | Audio | The Climate Question (BBC Podcast)

Environmental history and what makes for a civilization – Romila Thapar

Equations blog (Equitable Tourism Options)

Indigenous knowledge systems

Information provided by Indian government agencies and other organizations (FAQ)

Nature and wildlife | Crocodile | Elephant | Tiger | Mangrove forest | Trees

PARI’s tales from tiger territory | People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI)

United Nations on climate change


What is the Forest Rights Act about? 

Who is a forest dweller under this law, and who gets rights?