ENVIS Technical Report 97,   July 2015
Conservation Of Fragmented Forests In Banavasi Range, Sirsi Forest Division, Kanara Circle
Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012, India.
*Corresponding author: cestvr@ces.iisc.ernet.in

In the pre-colonial times, when the forests were under the virtual control of village communities, especially along the eastern fringes of Western Ghats, in eastern Sirsi and Siddapur, in the taluks of Sorab, Sagar, Tirthahalli etc. in Shimoga district, there were well developed, self-sustaining agro-forestry systems under the practical control of village communities. By the end of the 19th century the British claimed almost all forests of Uttara Kannada, including kans, kaadu, old shifting cultivation areas etc. As secondary forests had most of the marketable hardwood timbers more importance was given to these forests than to the kans. But the kans were protected under the British rule as very important watershed areas. With the increase in population need for agricultural lands, human settlements, cattle grazing, timber, firewood, fencing materials etc. increased many-fold. The dependence of people on the kans and other forest fragments increased substantially leading to their fast degradation. Encroachments of kans and other forests started taking place all over eastern Sirsi and Siddapur, and elsewhere in the district mainly for cultivation and housing. In Uttara Kannada, unlike in Shimoga, most of the time, kans were not demarcated separately from other reserved forests. So forest cutting for industrial demands, for timber and fuel wood affected all forests. A description of these forests, along with maps, and illustrative photographs with suggested action plan are presented in this report based on the field investigations in the select fragmented forests.

Keywords: kans, Western Ghats, sustainable management, forest fragmentation

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