Collateral damage: impacts of ethno-civil strife on biodiversity and natural resource use near Indian nature reserves

Velho, Nandini, Agarwala, Meghna, Srinivasan, Umesh, and Laurance, William F. (2014) Collateral damage: impacts of ethno-civil strife on biodiversity and natural resource use near Indian nature reserves. Biodiversity and Conservation, 23 (10). pp. 2515-2527.

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Civil conflicts often affect the control of natural resources, altering their access and use. Using a combination of questionnaires, remote sensing, and a review of articles in the popular print media, we investigated the impact of a protracted armed conflict on forest loss, livelihoods, and forest use near two globally important tiger reserves in northeastern India. Over a 23 year period, we found evidence of large-scale forest loss in the vicinity of Nameri and Pakke Tiger Reserves. Nearly all (99 %) interviewees opined that the ethno-civil strife was to blame for declining forest cover. Most interviewees identified 1990 as the year of onset of strife-mediated deforestation. This is partially supported by a review of print-media articles that reported conflict, violence, displacement, and the onset of large-scale migration in the previous year. According to respondents, ethno-civil strife has radically altered access to, and use of forests, by resident communities (causing economic hardship, increased costs, and reduced availability of essential timber products), and has also accelerated forest loss and increased poaching. We conclude that forests and wildlife in these protected areas are at immediate risk from ethno-civil strife. Urgent interventions are needed to reduce the environmental and societal impacts of civil strife in this biologically crucial region of India.

Item ID: 36120
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1572-9710
Keywords: forest cover, India, insurgency, logging, militancy, park management
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 12:33
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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