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Overview of Wildlife Conservation Plan

Wildlife Conservation Plan (WCP/WLCP) or Wildlife Management Plan are required for Biodiversity Management and wildlife protection in and near a projectarea. The plan's main objective is to provide a relatively stress-free habitat for wildlife in the impact area and meet the basic needs of resident wildlife. The WCP uses sustainable and scientific management of the area's natural wealth to provide safeguarding measures and wildlife protection from unsavoury elements and carry out developmental activities without affecting these resources. Therefore, biodiversity conservation and management plans are formulated in a way that can provide need-based, site-specific, and participatory eco-development inputs to local stakeholders for reducing their resource dependency on forests and for eliciting their support towards conservation in the area. Indian Government has initiated projects for wildlife conservation to check human encroachment. Some of the important ones are

  • Project Tiger
  • Project Elephant
  • Sea turtle project
  • Project Vulture
  • Crocodile conservation project
  • Project Dolphin
  • SAWEN
  • Captive Breeding program

Need of Wildlife Conservation Planning

Increasing man-animal conflict today is an outcome of fragmentation and deterioration of wildlife habitats. Unchecked development activities destroy flora and fauna of the impacted area but also disturbs the balance of the natural ecosystem. This is a crucial management issue and also comes up during project construction in or hear ecologically sensitive zones such as forests. Therefore conservation of flora, fauna around the project site (called the buffer zone) becomes essential as a partial Compliance of the Environmental Clearance from the MoEF&CC. Therefore, a wildlife conservation planning as a part of site assessment is needed. A project proponent must address the abovementioned issues in a WCP through innovative approaches for protecting and managing the forest ecosystems where the proponent will be starting a new project or expanding an existing one. A wildlife Conservation plan will be needed in case the project area falls near any of the following protected areas.

  • Sanctuaries
  • National Parks
  • Biosphere Reserves
  • Wildlife Corridors
  • Tiger / Elephants Reserves (existing as well as proposed)

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Process of Wildlife Conservation Plan

The aim of a WLCP must be the assessment of the present status of flora and fauna and the habitat of significant wildlife species in the project area as well as 10km buffer area. The following are the key chapters included in WCP in any state.

Composition of a Wildlife Conservation Plan

Introduction

This plan section should include Environmental and technical considerations such as project background, objective and scope of work, brief of the project and its utility and provisions of all relevant Acts and Regulations applicable to the particular WCP. The description of the topography, linear infrastructure, natural drainage, water bodies, movement of wildlife and the list of experts involved in the study must be included in this chapter.

Project Impact and Conservation Plan for the Impacted Area

This section should include study reports on the impact of the project on the environment in general, including soil, vegetation, water regime and animals. This section must also address the possible threats on account of project implementation and the study techniques adopted.

Mitigation Strategies

Mitigation strategies for the identified impacts must be addressed in this section along with other issues from the project in the project area and the buffer area. This section must also include:

  • Approach and Methodology for the Study Area including Impact Area Ecology like the profile of rivers, flora and fauna, and zone of interest.
  • Details of mitigation measures such as compensatory afforestation, mitigation for faunal mortality, green shelterbelt, muck-dump management and restoration, technical and managerial interventions for noise and vibration etc.

Assessment of Biodiversity values in the Study Area and ways of Uplifting Local Economy

This section should describe the proposed management strategies within the project (core area) to be implemented by the project proponent and include the following.

  • Interventions to be implemented by the project
  • Relevant provisions of EMP
  • Provisions for interim review and modifications

Maps and appendices

An executive summary, along with maps, appendices etc showing the location of the projects with respect to any protected areas mentioned in the plan must be included.

Application Process for the approval of Wildlife Conservation Plan

The project proponent will submit all the relevant necessary papers to the Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF), under whom the project area lies. The application must include details and necessary papers such as:

  • Name of Project Proponent
  • Name of Project, Location, Cost
  • Area of the Project and the 10 km buffer area
  • Activities to be undertaken under the project
  • Names of Ecologically sensitive areas and name of Schedule 1 species for which the WCP is being made
  • Name of the implementing agency for the WCP
  • List of Flora and Fauna authenticated by DCF
  • Wildlife Conservation Plan as per the format authenticated by DFC

Details of flora and fauna duly authenticated for core and buffer zone, must be included based on the primary field survey indicating the Schedule of the fauna present. In case of any scheduled-I fauna found in the study area, the necessary plan for their preservation must be included.

The abovementioned necessary papers and the comprehensive Wildlife Management Plan must be sent to Chief Wildlife Warden(India) CWLW office after authentication by the concerned DCF and recommendation of the concerned CCF (Chief Conservator of Forest).

Importance of Wildlife Conservation Plan for Environmental Clearance

When establishing any industry or a development or mining project, the project proponent has to apply for Environmental Clearance (EC) under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, to the project authorities. The MoEF notification dated 14th September, 2006 ensures that at the time of environmental clearance, the approval for forest diversion for projects situated beyond the 10 km distance from the Protected Areas will also be needed. The MoEF&CC stipulates conditions for preparation and implementation of Site Specific Wildlife Conservation Plan by the project authorities in consultation with State Forest and Wildlife Department.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Total population of the villages
  • The total number of households in the study area
  • Data such as sex ratio, literacy rate, marginal workers etc. in the study area
  • Percentage of the scheduled tribe and scheduled caste in the study area

The parameters included in calculation of Total Cumulative Score are as follow:

  • Cumulative Score of Geology
  • Cumulative Score of Soil and Noise
  • Cumulative Score of Land Cover and Hydrogeology
  • Cumulative Score of Water, Land Cover, Solid/ Hazardous, Ecology and Biodiversity, Socio-Economic and Hydrogeology
  • Cumulative Score of Hazardous Risk.

The Main threats to wildlife include various local factors, which may be very site-specific. However, The following threats are associated with nearly every area impacted:

  • Forest Fires
  • Poaching
  • Depletion of Forests & Reduction in forest cover
  • Loss of habitats of wild animals
  • Restricted movement of wild animals due to construction of linear infrastructure
  • Man-animal conflict

One of the reasons the WCP is carried out is to identify ecologically sensitive receptors (species, habitats & ecosystems) and keeping in mind if there are any Rare, Endemic or Threatened (RET) species of flora or fauna in the core and buffer zone.

The location, span and total percentage of the following factors are included landuse types in the study area.

  • Sea
  • Forest
  • Agriculture
  • Builtup
  • Wasteland
  • Low-lying Areas
  • Scrub & Plantation
  • Waterbody
  • Beach

A biological assessment of the project area is done through field investigations and literature surveys to identify whether there is any ecologically sensitive area within the buffer zone that is likely to be impacted.

The main objective of muck dumping and restoration to muck disposal sites is to protect and control soil erosion, create greenery in the muck disposal areas, improve and develop the sites into recreational sites and ensure maximum utilization of muck for construction purposes.

The WLCP area should be properly surveyed for the existing mining and other projects and any other probable projects in this zone. Convergence of the interventions should be planned to avoid overlapping field-based activities.

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