30 years of wildlife research
wildlife outside Protected areas
Rapid expansion of transport networks and other infrastructure to meet development needs is occurring throughout the world. This expansion potentially severs connectivity across landscapes and disrupts gene flow for wide ranging endangered species. In India. roads, rail, and other infrastructure are fundamental for economic development. Yet, these linear features sever connectivity between protected areas. Protected areas in India are often too small to support viable populations of wide-ranging species, such as elephants and tigers. Connectivity is crucial for genetic viability of these species.Supported by the Science for Nature and People Partnership, Dr’s Krithi Karanth, Ruth Defries and Ullas Karanth lead a project that will help decision-makers plan for infrastructure development while maintaining connectivity of the landscape. The projects lens extends specifically to landscapes critical for conservation in India: central India and the Western Ghats. Both of these landscapes are facing severe development pressures from road, rail, dams, energy infrastructure, human settlements and mining projects. An advisory group comprised of high-level, key national and state-level decision makers from the relevant sectors, including highway, mining, and energy sectors, and conservation scientists are collaborating with a working group to carry out analyses of options for maintaining connectivity based on experiences in India and internationally, including costs and effectiveness of different strategies. By using scientific evidence to identify major challenges for wildlife connectivity across India, it will produce open access data layers, analysis and a conservation film to be shared with decision makers and the public. Projects insights and results will provide a pathway for decision-making in other landscapes throughout India and elsewhere.