¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
ENVIS Technical Report 125,   September 2017
Ecologically Sensitive Regions in the Kali River Basin, Karnataka:
Delineation based on Ecological Principles and People’s Livelihood
Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560 012, India.
E Mail: tvr@iisc.ac.in; Tel: 91-080-22933099, 2293 3503 extn 101, 107, 113
  • Ecologically Sensitive Regions (ESRs) are the ‘ecological units’ with exceptional biotic and abiotic elements. Identification of ESRs considering spatially both ecological and social dimensions of environmental variables, helps in ecological and conservation planning as per Biodiversity Act, 2002, Government of India.
  • Ecologically Sensitive Regions (ESR) should be prioritized based on conservation values and threat levels and not under ‘political pressure’ or ‘threats from the economically influential section of the society’ under the guise of ‘public pressure’.
  • The worth of forests in the district is evident from the revenue of Rs. 9707 to 15,171 crores per year from the provisioning goods and services. This amounts to about Rs. 2 lakh per hectare per year (Details in the Annexure).
  • The land use analysis highlights the decline of evergreen forest cover from 61.79 to 38.5 % (1973-2016);
  • The Kali River basin has rich biodiversity with endemic flora and fauna;
  • Vital habitat for tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard, wild dog (dhole) and sloth bear;
  • Constitute an important elephant corridor between Karnataka and Maharashtra;
  • Important birds are Malabar Trogon, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Indian Grey Hornbill, Great Indian Hornbill, Emerald Dove, Ceylon Frog mouth, Pompador Pigeon etc.;
  • ESR provide scope for habitat improvement, enhance the environmental services, reduce edge effects, connectivity, reducing fragmentation of forests and also provides a physical barrier from human encroachment.
  • Ecological importance is evident from the occurrence of perennial streams with catchment having more than 65% native species of vegetation, while the streams are seasonal in the catchment dominated by monoculture plantations (6-8 months) and agriculture (water retention in streams is only for four months of monsoon).
  • The current move of de-notifying Kali tiger reserve area of 75% Eco Sensitive Zone will have more adverse effect on ecology, hydrology and sustainability of natural resources. This senseless action would enhance the instances of human animal conflicts, while eroding the water security and people’s livelihood.
  • In this backdrop, Delineated ESRs outside PAs (Protected areas) in Kali river basin requiring urgent protection from rising threat levels.
  • ESR delineations are to be on ecological principles with the vigorous scientific analyses than shortsighted political strategies
  • ESRs at village levels are identified considering the integrated ecological framework with bio-geo climatic variables.
  • ESR 1:  highly sensitive regions requiring stringent conservation measures involving all stakeholders including VFCs (Village forest committees).
  • ESR 2 represents a zone of higher conservation and forms a transition for highest conservation and moderate conservation regions.
  • ESR 3 represents moderate conservation region and only regulated development is allowed in these areas.
  • ESR 4 represents least diversity areas and the developments are allowed as per the requirement by strict vigilance from regulatory authorities. It is recommended that these regions are also has a lot of scope for further enrichment of environment by stakeholders and forest department intervention.

  • ESR analyses reveal that 10 km buffer region is ecologicallyfragile zone and to be protected as Eco-sensitive regions as per the norms of Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Kali river basin covers a total of 524 villages spread across three districts (uttara Kannada, Belgaum and Dharwad).
  • 203 villages are in ESR 1, 73 villages in ESR-2, 77 villages in ESR-3, and 181 villages are in ESR 4.
  • The Kali river basin spread across the Uttara Kannada district has 331 villages and 190 villages are in ESR-1.
  • Proritisation of ESRs helps in the implementation of sustainable developmental framework with the appropriate conservation strategies through the involvement of local stakeholders.
  • The Community-based Conservation (CBC) of ESR 2 & 3 by invloving local communities, in the conservation decision-making and sustainable management would help in the conservation of biological diversity (or wildlife) as well as addressing the needs of people’s livelihood.
  • Proposed de-notification of eco-sensitive regions in the Kali River basin would create large-scale environmental disturbances that have the potential of adversely changing the character of the natural landscapes. This would spell ecological and economic catastrophe with the impending threat to water security and people’s livelihood. Decision makers in the democratic India need to ensure the sustenance of natural resources and prosperity of the local people than eroding the resource base through unplanned senseless developmental activities. 


E-mail     |     Sahyadri     |     ENVIS     |     GRASS     |     Energy     |     CES     |     CST     |     CiSTUP     |     IISc     |     E-mail