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Need to develop land-use strategy to protect forests forming tiger habitats: NTCA

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
There is a need to develop a land-use strategy at state and district levels to protect forests and grasslands which constitute tiger habitats for the well-being of people and nature, the National Tiger Conservation Authority said on Tuesday.
The statutory body under the Environment Ministry said ecologically sustainable land-use plans need to be incorporated with tiger conservation plans for reserves and corridors and they should be linked with master plans for eco-sensitive zones (ESZs).
The NTCA, along with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), on Monday released the four-yearly 2018 tiger census report according to which the number of tigers has increased by 33 per cent at 2,967 since 2014, when it was 2,226.
On the concluding day of the celebration of Global Tiger Day, NTCA Member-Secretary Anoop Nayak released the future action plan and said the big cats need large inviolate tracts of habitat with ample prey to sustain long-term viable populations.
"Tiger is one of the important indicators of healthy ecosystems and as a national animal of India, its conservation is not a choice, but an imperative," he said.
To work towards the goal, Nayak said, there needs to be a coordination between ministries, scientific departments and general public.
"This is of paramount importance as India is the global leader with 2,967 tigers as estimated during the All India Tiger Estimation 2018, and calls for a landscape approach with multi-stakeholder engagement based on a master plan under the ESZ framework of the ministry," he said.
He said a multi-stakeholder consultation must be done at the project-planning stage near tiger habitats and corridors/interlinking areas that addresses negative impacts on ecosystems.
"Developing a land-use strategy at state and district levels that considers the ecosystem services of forests and grasslands constituting tiger habitats and corridors/interlinking areas and helps preserve those services for well-being of people and nature. This should be made part of District Planning Committee for implementation," he said.
He said critical tiger habitats, where no infrastructure development or other adversely impactful activities are allowed, need to be made larger and a proper mitigation plan is needed to interlink corridors to ensure tiger conservation is not impacted adversely by development.
He also asserted that officials at the state level should be sensitized towards tiger conservation.

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First Published: Jul 30 2019 | 8:40 PM IST

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