New idea in India

Print edition : April 20, 2012

The Society for Ecological Restoration defines ecological restoration as an intentional activity that initiates or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem with respect to its health, integrity and sustainability. Frequently, the ecosystem is degraded, damaged, transformed or entirely destroyed by human activities. Ecological restoration is now a key management strategy in protected areas across the world.

In India, it is a relatively new idea, but clearly there will need to be further interest in ecological restoration. The Nature Conservation Foundation based in Mysore has been conducting pioneering work in degraded rainforests converted into tea estates near Valparai. Their work in the Anaimalais has set the standard for others trying to restore similar rainforest habitats. At the same time the Vattakanal Conservation Trust has also been building up years of successful shola regeneration in the Palani Hills, an idea first hatched by the Palani Hills Conservation Council through its shola nurseries.

The VCT's work with restoring the Vatapari marsh near the Kodaikanal golf links is the first effort in the Western Ghats to restore montane grasslands and will establish clear methodologies for further restoration activities in the upper plateau areas of the Western Ghats. It is now setting up nurseries of native grasses and shrubs that complement their success with raising different shola species.

See https://www.vattakanalconservationtrust.org/ for further information.

Ian Lockwood
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