Establishing a Platform for Communication and Planning Across the Conservation Community and Sectors Involved in Infrastructure Expansion
The Working Group’s goal is to establish a platform for communication and planning across the conservation community and sectors involved in infrastructure expansion. The Working Group plans to provide an information base, including costs and effectiveness, for evaluating alternative strategies for infrastructure development in India. Alternatives include technological options (e.g. overpasses), planning (e.g. scenarios based on connectivity modeling for siting decisions), and management (e.g. road closures at sensitive times).
The Working Group is applying the analyses of alternative strategies to two forested biodiversity rich landscapes in India – Central India and the Western Ghats – where infrastructure is expanding. The inquiry is grounded in landscape-scale realities, building on national-level studies that have previously identified the critical need to maintain connectivity between protected areas in India.
The two project areas are among the largest and most viable forested conservation landscapes in India. They present opportunities to plan and inform infrastructure expansions while maintaining viable populations of iconic wild species. Both of these landscapes contain several protected areas, and both landscapes currently maintain some structural connectivity.
Specific examples of developmental needs in the two landscapes are: highways, human settlements, coal and manganese mining, and thermal power plants in critical parts of the corridors in Central India; and roads, solar energy, wind energy, and dams in the Western Ghats.
India in general, and these landscapes in particular, are important test beds for examining practical ways to reconcile competing interests for conservation and economic development. This work lays the groundwork for approaches and information that can be applied in other landscapes in India and other parts of the developing world to achieve action on the ground.
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