ETR109_Part3 | Biodiversity | Human Impact On The Environment

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  ETR 109, Energy & Wetlands Research Group, CES, IISc   2 16 © Ramachandra T V, Setturu Bharath, Subash Chandran M D, Vishnumayananda, Harish R Bhat, Rao, G R, Akhil C A., Vishnu D. Mukri, Vrijulal M V, Chaturved Shet, Gouri Kulkarni, Bharath H. Aithal, 2016. Ecologically Sensitive Zones of Bannerghatta National Park (BNP), Sahyadri Conservation Series 57, ENVIS Technical Report 109, CES, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012   133   7.0 COMMON LANDS (GOMALA): STATUS AND SIGNIFICANCE Common lands are the resources accessible to the whole community of a village with no exclusive property rights to any individuals. These include village pastures (Gomala), community forests, wastelands (Karab lands), common threshing grounds, streams and watershed drainages, village ponds, tanks, rivers/rivulets, riverbeds, etc. (Jodha, 1986; 2009). These lands have to be managed judiciously in a sustainable manner to ensure sustenace of resources for common good of the people. These community lands are valuable assets and  protecting these lands is vital to maintain the natural drainage patterns, forest cover, environment and for other public purposes and hence constitutes a critical livelihood resource for landless, small and marginal farmers. According to Section 67 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964, all common lands are the property of the State Government and not the  property of any individual or aggregate of persons. Section 71 empowers the Survey Officers and the Deputy Commissioner to set apart lands that are the property of the State Government for free pasturage for village cattle, for forest reserves or for any other public purposes. However, with the growing demand of burgeoning population and lack of knowledge among the post-independence Indian administrators (about common lands significance), these lands are being converted for other uses without seeking the approval of local stakeholders. Thus, degradation and deprivation of common lands have been affecting the livelihood of dependent  population. Common lands such as gomala, minor forests, etc. have played vital role in sustaining rural livelihoods, evident from 60% of India’s rural population dependent on animal husbandry in dry lands. Livestock is complimentary to agriculture, which involves an efficient use of agriculture residues (water, straw, leftovers from other crops), agriculture waste (weeds and grass, oil cakes) and convertion to manure, which helps in improving soil fertility, while  productively employing surplus labour. Non-quantifiable benefits of livestock include social, religious and cultural aspects. In addition, about 15 million bullock carts fulfil two-thirds of India’s transportation needs and provide employment to 20 million people (Ramanajum, 1993).  The presence of common grazing lands (gomala) in villages has helped landless and marginal farmers ’  livelhood through livestock rearing. Hence, to sustain rural livelihood necessitates the  protection and sutainable management of common lands. Role of commonlands in the protection of National Parks : Protected areas (PAs) and national parks (NPs) have helped in the conservation of biodiversity worldwide (Gaston et al.,  ETR 109, Energy & Wetlands Research Group, CES, IISc   2 16 © Ramachandra T V, Setturu Bharath, Subash Chandran M D, Vishnumayananda, Harish R Bhat, Rao, G R, Akhil C A., Vishnu D. Mukri, Vrijulal M V, Chaturved Shet, Gouri Kulkarni, Bharath H. Aithal, 2016. Ecologically Sensitive Zones of Bannerghatta National Park (BNP), Sahyadri Conservation Series 57, ENVIS Technical Report 109, CES, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012   134   2008). Most NPs and PAs are embedded in heterogeneous landscapes which are affected by forest fragmentation due to senseless anthropogenic activities involving road construction, hunting, grazing, agriculture, commercial plantations, fire, invasive species, over harvest of non-timber forest products and mining (Hansen & DeFries, 2007). Common lands such as gomala, kharab forest lands, etc. in the vicinity of PAs and NPs play crucial role in preventing deforestation, provide fodder and food, etc. These buffer regions help in conserving  biodiversity of a variety of species, communities and ecosystems. The conservation of PA or  NP ecosystems depend on the status of buffer region (Chazdon et al., 2009). Understanding the status of tropical diversity and anthropogenic pressure on PAs and other forested regions requires studying patterns of biodiversity in adjoining landscapes which are actively managed and modified by humans for a wide variety of traditional and commercial purposes, including hunting, agriculture and plantations of native or exotic species. The diverse landscapes with tree cover (as forest fragments, fallow land, riparian areas, live fences, dispersed trees, or shade canopies) provide complementary habitats, resources, and landscape connectivity (e.g., Harvey et al. 2006; Sekercioglu et al. 2007). The natural vegetation regions or grass lands with dispersed trees surrounding protected areas also support significant levels of biodiversity (Mayfield et al. 2005; Barlow et al. 2007) and also provide valuable ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, hydrological protection (Tschakert et al. 2007). Grassland ecosystems with high levels of productivity and energy utilization support large populations of grazing animals. Grasslands and community reserve lands are ecologically and economically treasured  biomes used for livestock and small herbivore grazing. Livestock constitutes the backbone of agrarian economy and its sustenance depends on the grasslands. The encroachmentof cmmon lands with the substantial changes in vegetation structure are induced by humans for cultivation, mining, etc. (Hirota et al. 2011). The restoration of these habitats (Daryanto and Eldridge, 2011), provide opportunities for biodiversity conservation. Buffer regions (with common lands) helps in mitigating the anthropogenic disturbances including instances of fire, etc. in NP, PAs and forests. These lands also act as a natural corridor for animal migration in fragmented area provide critical habitats and refugia for biodiversity. Encroachment of forest land and other government lands such as gomala, kharab lands has  been threatening species in PAs and in forest patches. The land degradation due to illegal mining, uncontrolled grazing, etc. will suppress natural regeneration and increses the extent of invasive species such as lantana, eupatorium, parthenium, etc. Incorporation of ‘biodiversity friendly’  land uses into actively managed buffer zones or biological corridors contributes  ETR 109, Energy & Wetlands Research Group, CES, IISc   2 16 © Ramachandra T V, Setturu Bharath, Subash Chandran M D, Vishnumayananda, Harish R Bhat, Rao, G R, Akhil C A., Vishnu D. Mukri, Vrijulal M V, Chaturved Shet, Gouri Kulkarni, Bharath H. Aithal, 2016. Ecologically Sensitive Zones of Bannerghatta National Park (BNP), Sahyadri Conservation Series 57, ENVIS Technical Report 109, CES, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012   135   towards the long term conservation value of protected areas (DeFries et al. 2007; Harvey et al. 2008). Buffer regions with intact forests, agroforestry, remnant vegetation, plantations, and managed forest patches provide critical habitats and refugium for biodiversity (Harvey and DeFries, 2006; Harvey and Gonz´alez 2007; Bhagwat et al. 2008). This emphasises the need for diversely managed habitats surrounding PA’s (DeFries and Rosenzweig, 2010), especially in areas with high population pressure. Therefore, maintaing the gomala and kharab forest regions in and arround PAs, NPs is vital for adding value to mainstream conservation endeavours. The Bannerghatta national park and its environ (1 km) has arround 8938.56 ha of governemt lands in the form of gomala, kharab-forest, kharab land etc. These lands aid as a corridor for various faunal species, which also maintaing rich biodiversity. The gomala and kharab forest lands under the ownership of state helps to meet the livestock fodder demand,  but unfortunatly these ecologically important lands are being encroached. National Commission on Agriculture (1976) had declared encroachment as unauthorized occupation leading to the significanct degradation and emphasizes the need for legal protection. State Government and the Central Government can acquire land for the various purposes mentioned under the List I and II of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The British Government first outlined the Regulation 1 of the Act in 1824 which was then applied throughout the Bengal provinces. This Act enabled the government to acquire immovable  property or land at a ‘fair and reasonable’ price for any public purpose like construction of roads, canals, etc. The term “appropriate government” in the LA Act, 1894 would refer to both the Central and State governments, depending on which of them issues a notification under Section 4 for the acquisition of land. Under Article 31(2) of the Constitution, State can acquire land only for the ‘Public Purpose’. The term “appropriate government” in the LA Act, 1894 would refer to both the Central and State governments, depending on which of them issues a notification under Section 4 for the acquisition of land. Under Article 31(2) of the Constitution, State can acquire land only for the ‘Public Purpose’. A cts such as “Acquisition of land for Grant of House Sites Act, 1972 (Karnataka Act 18 of 1973); Acquisition of Land for Grant of House Sites Rules, 1973 help in acquisition. In BNP environ the revenue lands, gomala lands (regions were earlier used as a grazing lands by villagers) were acquired by BDA (Bangalore development authority) for creating settlements and layouts which woul deprive the livelihood option (livestock rearing) of local people. Plan to construct housing layouts by BDA only highlights the agencies insensitiveness and continued irresponsible unplanned action, which would only lead to higher instances of human-animal conflicts.  ETR 109, Energy & Wetlands Research Group, CES, IISc   2 16 © Ramachandra T V, Setturu Bharath, Subash Chandran M D, Vishnumayananda, Harish R Bhat, Rao, G R, Akhil C A., Vishnu D. Mukri, Vrijulal M V, Chaturved Shet, Gouri Kulkarni, Bharath H. Aithal, 2016. Ecologically Sensitive Zones of Bannerghatta National Park (BNP), Sahyadri Conservation Series 57, ENVIS Technical Report 109, CES, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012   136   This section provides the spatial extent of gomala and the extent of encroachments in 1km  buffer region of BNP, apread across three taluks. The spatial analysis involved (i) base map  preparation, (ii) temporal remote sensing data analysis, and (iii) identification of different types of encroachment, data analyses, etc. Figures 1.1 and 1.2 depict gomala of Ragihalli. Spatail data of forest boundaries, gomala lands, forest plantation, etc. provided by the Krnataka Forest department were overlaid on temporal remote sensing data. Encroachment of gomala lands were identified and delineated with the help of Google Earth (http://google.earth.com) data. The maps highlighting different categories of encroachment, separately for three taluks of BNP has been created and analysed. Figure1.1 highlights gomala land status in Ragihalli region of Anekal taluk (survey number 69) with good native flora and grasses. On other hand, Figure 1.2 shows highly degraded gomala, kharab forest land in Guttal hunase village, Kanakapura taluk. Gomala lands in and arround BNP with diverse grasses and other vegetation supports BNP biodiversity (Figure 1.3). The rampent sand mining and land conversions (Figure 1.4 and figure 2) for agriculture, human settlements and commercial plantations have degraded and affected grasslands ecology. Immature decisions of regularising encroachments has encouraged the local land mafia to further encroach gomala and kharab forest lands in and arround BNP. Rampant sand mining or ‘filter sand’ is common in entire BNP region and its environs. Uncontrolled expansion of agricultural land is leading to the erosion of soils, decline in soil fertility, reduced quality and quntity of water. Rampant livestock grazing in BNP has affected the forest regeneration. Cattle grazing is one of the major problems in the management of forest and wildlife. The human-elephant conflict is one of the serious threats to the survival of Asian elephants in BNP. Table 1 and Figure 3 lists the extent of encroachment of common lands in he respecive taluks. Figure 1.1: View of gomala land (survey number 69) in Ragihalli region  
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