Background and Context
IUCN defines protected areas as “A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.” Nepal being developing country, is functioning much solider in wildlife conservation and is appreciated for its efforts and success by global community. Nepal, said to be success in restoring iconic species from last few years as population of Royal Bengal tiger and one horned Rhino is climbing up.
While the efforts inside the protected areas is appreciable, outside is Miserable in Nepal. It is generally agreed that protected areas are essential for biodiversity conservation, many issues remain contentious and complex in term of their effectiveness and specific policy initiatives. Their establishment, management and restoration of degraded habitats are some of the areas where varying viewpoints about conservation strategies and policies exist between the conservationists with varied background (Karanth et al. 2008). Efforts inside the protected areas is palpable but, isn’t it short-sight to depend totally on protected areas for biodiversity conservation? Such dependency in Nepal has created paradoxical scenarios where species inside protected areas are receiving much efforts and attentions for their preservation while the same species outside protected areas are somehow allowed to be damaged. More than 80% of earth surface is unprotected areas. These areas provide habitats for many endangered species and contain unique ecosystems that complement the roles of protected areas (Primack 2010). Degradation of areas outside protected areas causes the decline of biodiversity within the protected areas. Some studies have indicated that improvement of biodiversity conservation on even 25% of the existing unprotected areas could represent significant additional biodiversity gains (Cox and Underwood 2011).Though it requires more efforts to face the challenges of protecting biodiversity in developing countries like Nepal which are associated with poverty, illiteracy, political corruptions and lack of advance technologies. Considering the declining trends of biodiversity status despite continued increase in numbers and areas of protected areas globally, studies that explore strategies of conservation outside protected areas provide paramount meaning.
Let’s hook the specific issues of IBA’s and Ramsar sites. Those Ramsar sites which are outsides of PA’s have got less attentions. Jagadishpur reservoir being equally sensitive, is facing high anthropogenic threats compared to beeshazari lake. Similarly, there are 27 IBA’s with 5 potential IBA’s (BCN) but they are still lacking sufficient attentions. Wildlife outside the protected areas such as fishing cat, stripted hyena, Golden monitor lizard, pangolin etc. are not getting proper attention from authority besides the handfuls of research. More essentially, areas outside of protected areas are unexplored but enduring with high anthropogenic impact.
Actually there is lack of functioning body outside the protected areas that can bond local community with the conservation. Inside the protected areas, Buffer zone community forest user group (BZCFUG’s) and Community based anti-poaching unit (CBAPU) are trained and promoted for wildlife conservation. Even these user groups are benefitted economically. While outside of PA’s, People’s participation in conservation activities is very low. Not only participation, local authority (if any) are unable to cooperate with local community and convince them for involvement. Poverty and illiteracy have barred local immersion. At the time when community involved in conservation in PA’s are advancing their lifestyle, how can we expect same efforts outside the PA’s without providing incentives. Education awareness have not warmed grassroots level outside PA’s too. Lack of proper management strategy can be another reason pushing areas outside PA’s towards jeopardy.
To strengthen the conservation activities in order to promote biodiversity “Incentive based conservation model” can be best options. Through this model, main barrier of local participation i.e. poverty can be somehow reduced. Incentives often attract people to work for society for personal as well social wellbeing. Management strategy should be developed and implemented as soon as possible. Community based organizations should be catalyzed for leading conservation initiations.
1. Karanth, K. K., R. A. Kramer, S. S. Qian, and N. L. Christensen Jr. 2008. Examining conservation attitudes, perspectives, and challenges in India. Biological Conservation 141:2357-2367.
2. Primack, R. 2010. Essentials of Conservation Biology. Sinauer Associates, Incorporated.
3. Cox, R. L. and E. C. Underwood. 2011. The importance of conserving biodiversity outside of protected areas in mediterranean ecosystems. PLoS ONE 6:0014508
4. Gambay, J.J, 2014. Conservation Outside Protected Areas:The Perspectives of Local Community Leaders in Southern Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Karatu District Tanzania