- At least 73 eco-sensitive villages, of which 22 are ‘red list’ villages, have been left out of the buffer zone of the Bannerghatta National Park, which remains Bengaluru’s last big, urban forest.
- ‘Red list’ comprises villages that are adjacent to the forest and are highly eco-sensitive.
About the Study:
- Bannerghatta National Park is the first of 21 urban forests to be looked at by the researcher.
- The Ministry of Environment and Forests does allow for buffer zone to be reduced to 100 meters in densely populated areas, and this makes sense in the context of the northern edge where Bengaluru lies.
- But, there is no logical reason, apart from vested interests, to exclude villages with low built-up area in the central and southern boundaries of the park.
- Considering the reduction of the ESZ the buffer zone will do little in protecting the area, or the elephants that either uses it as a refuge or as a transit passage.
- Buffer Zones are the areas peripheral to a national park or equivalent reserve, where restrictions are placed upon resource use or special development measures are undertaken to enhance the conservation values of the area.
- Many authors agree that the term buffer zone became widely used with the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program and the Biosphere Reserves (BRs) in the 1970s.
Ecologically Sensitive Zones
- Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas.
- They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
- An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometers around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.