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Management of Similipal Biosphere Reserve Forest: Issues and Challenges

Author(s): Madhusmita Dash | Bhagirath Behera

Journal: Advances in Forestry Letters
ISSN 2326-3539

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 7;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Forest | Management | Biodiversity Conservation | Institutions | Livelihoods | Odisha | India

The conservation of biodiversity has been a contentious and complex issue over the years. Protected areas [PAs] that are created to preserve biodiversity are in critical condition due to excessive anthropogenic pressure. The Similipal biosphere reserve [SBR] in the Odisha state of India is the sixth largest biosphere reserve in the country and forms a major part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. SBR is the home for diverse flora and fauna and most of them are endemic in nature. Besides the rich floral and faunal biodiversity, SBR is also the abode of many tribes living in and around the biosphere reserve and critically depend on the reserve for livelihoods. Designing appropriate and effective local institutions that fosters biodiversity conservation and livelihoods is widely considered as a panacea for this problem. The paper describes the current issues and challenges faced by the SBR; analyzes how the local institutions are functioning and demonstrates how management interventions can be effectively and equitably prioritized towards the members of a community who are mostly dependent on forest resources in order to promote sustainable local livelihoods and biodiversity conservation. Lessons learned include the capacity building training activities to raise the skill and capabilities of the stakeholders through joint government-community collaboration; sharing of benefits in equitable way among the shareholders; empowerment of local people through better participatory programmes; and provision of well-defined livelihood enhancement opportunities through promotion of eco-tourism which is highly neglected in SBR.
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