Saving Kodagu district's forests

Degradation of natural forests, loss of tree cover and diversity, depletion of ground water resources, economic instability due to continuous and persistent negative impact on the mainstream activity of coffee cultivation in the form of low prices, crop loss, labour problems, increasing human elephant conflicts, land use changes, are some of the pressures calling for attention to save this landscape.

A group of likeminded people and organisations who are stakeholders and are aware and involved in conservation activities came forward to form an organisation which culminated in the Kodagu Model Forest Trust (KMFT).  

An eight-pronged strategic plan to address the issues was prepared and programmes designed to rejuvenate the social, cultural, ecological and economic stability of this unique landscape. Accordingly, KMFT has been mobilising support from various organisations, funding agencies, government, research institutions, general public and NGOs who are the stakeholders for maintenance of the health of this landscape.

One such programme through partnership building with NGO-government-community is being implemented in mitigation of Human-Elephant-Conflict (HEC) in the fringe areas of the only National Park of Kodagu, Nagarahole. The project aims to understand the cause for degradation of the natural habitat of elephants, destruction of elephant corridors and work to improve the natural habitat through partnerships. The programme thus conceptualised, initiated and implemented by the KMFT is ‘The Green Village Community Forum’ (GVCF).  

The partnership is between the Kodagu Model Forest, Karnataka Forest Department and the Communities living in the problem area consisting of coffee planters, plantation labourers, tribal settlement and the local governing body. The objective is achieved through education and demonstration.

The Department builds the infrastructure, while the community jointly maintains the infrastructure by generating the required funds from within the community and with technical support from the KMFT. Months ago, the GVCF (Thithimathi-Devarapura) was launched, wherein the responsibility of the maintenance of the infrastructure was handed over to the GVCF. An aspect of the programme includes the installation of solar fences and distribution of weather kits to guards.

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