Forests | VOL. 14, ISSUE 85, July-August 2014

Parambikulam: Forest Dwellers in Charge

Located in the midst of rivers and undulating peaks, the jungles of Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (PTR) are bestowed with rich biodiversity and an abundance of wildlife. A small group of forest dwellers of around 350 families live in harmony both with nature and the forest department officials, helping to conserve the forests.  The PTR also known as Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Palakkad, Kerala, is a protected ecological section in the Nelliampathy-Annamalai landscape of the Southern Western Ghats in India covering an area of  643.66 sq km. From colonial times until the 1970s, Parambikulam’s rich teak plantation was exploited for forestry and timber operation. Once the plantation industry came to a halt and the forest was recognised as a reserved area, the people living in the region resorted to earn a living through illegal operations in the forests. Ever since, their presence in the forest was considered a threat to forest conservation. In addition unregulated tourism demanded urgent interventions from the forest department. It was around this time that the forest department thought of engaging traditional forest dwellers in conservation efforts. Posted as keepers-of-the-forest the tribal dwellers started to share the responsibility of forest upkeep. The sanctuary was declared as tiger reserve in 2009. “With a triple agenda of forest conservation, creating livelihood opportunities and sustainable ecotourism development, the tribals were given an opportunity to...

To purchase this article, kindly sign in

Comments are closed.