Resource Protection

(1) Approach

Biodiversity that has been protected and managed throughout the state is the resource base for all future conservation and sustainable use. Protecting the resource base can be achieved in a number of ways, among which the following, developed for this Project, are of primary importance:

  • Securing the boundaries of the existing PAs and RFs.
  • Creating a buffer, where necessary, between wild animals and the people who live in close proximity to wildlife habitats.
  • Reducing threats to plants, animals and their habitats from fire, livestock grazing and vegetation degradation.
  • Managing invasive alien species so that they do not spread into newer & pristine habitats.
  • Protecting humans and wild animals from the spread of contagious diseases. Strictly preserving some of the ‘natural laboratories’ for long-term research on biodiversity, climate change and other critical issues that confront the biosphere.

Resource protection requires well-trained and equipped field staff who are vigilant and strategic in their patrolling, backed up by good communications systems and additional support as required to deal with emergencies (e.g. fires, smugglers).

Such work is labour-intensive and authorities rarely have adequate budgets to maintain presence throughout PAs, particularly vast wildlife-rich areas such as Elephant Reserves. Working with village community members is an effective strategy for increasing patrolling on the ground, while also gaining access to intelligence in the case of illegal activities. Protection duties involve hard and, sometimes, dangerous work. Recognition of diligence, commitment and courage is an important part of raising awareness and the profile of staff on the ground.

Interventions are focused on augmenting existing provisions for field staff in PAs and elephant reserves with anti-poaching squads and equipment, demarcating forest boundaries and providing incentives such as training awards for outstanding work.

(2) Rationale

Natural resources in PAs (and RFs) are under huge pressure from local communities dependent on forest resources at varying extents, for their livelihood needs and, in some cases, from smugglers involved in illicit poaching and timber removal. Securing the resource through protection is paramount, not only for biodiversity conservation but also its sustainable use where provisions for certain types of resource use are legitimate and appropriate.

(3) Strategies

1.2.1 Strengthen resource protection

Action 1 Training and field review of alien species management Solar-powered torches for night protection staff Train village volunteers in resource protection skills Monitor incidences of fire, poaching and encroachment in PAs and RFs Consolidation of forest boundaries by construction of RF Cairns Enter georeferenced data in biodiversity database/GIStd>