Case study 3:
Managing Biodiversity in Kaziranga
National Park, Assam, India
Kaziranga National Park is one of the showcase national
parks in India as well as a declared World Heritage
Site. It celebrated its recent Centenary with a wonderful
display of ethnic and cultural exhibits combined with
an extensive and intensive series of research seminars
to explore future management options for the Park. [
See http://www.kaziranga100.com/ for details] The seminars
were attended by a number of international as well as
Indian scientists. Andy Gillison from CBM presented
a keynote address on “Managing biodiversity in
Kaziranga National Park: a case for bioregional planning”
(see below for abstract).
Managing biodiversity in Kaziranga National Park: a
case for bioregional planning
The biodiversity status of North East India is briefly
reviewed together with Kaziranga NP that forms an integral
part of the forested foothills of the Eastern Himalayas
and grasslands and woodlands of the North and South
Bank landscapes of the Brahmaputra river. Overlapping
habitat ranges of many key plant and animal species
within the region suggest biodiversity management within
KNP should be carefully considered within the broader
scope of a bioregional, conservation management plan
for North East India. Data recently acquired from field
surveys in the North Bank Landscape and Himalayan footlills
are used to support this argument and to demonstrate
the relative global conservation value of the region.
Case studies were presented to briefly illustrate how
critical baseline data and information can be acquired
and maintained by both regional forestry and park management
using relatively low-cost, state-of-the-art technology.
Such data can be vital for adaptive management in the
face of unforeseen environmental change or for decision
support in the selection and integration of park extensions.
Balancing the plant-animal conservation image in Kaziranga
The Kaziranga success story is without parallel on the
Indian subcontinent. It is the result of tireless efforts
by government and conservation agencies combined with
on-ground commitment by park personnel. The image presented
to the world is one of continuing success in managing
large mammals especially the flagship species of rhino,
elephant and tiger. While success is seen as the embodiment
of the right kind of faunal management, an untold story
surrounds the critical management of animal habitat
that is reflected in its vegetation.
Unlike most other areas of the Brahmaputra valley, the
vegetation of KNP represents an unusually intact mosaic
of successional and mature vegetation types that form
the semi-evergreen forest and grassland mosaics of the
south bank of the Brahmaputra river.
While many of the forest species areendemic to the Indo-Burma
region, the vegetation typifies many aspects of the
palaeotropic dry forests that extend in a dry seasonal
belt around the globe.
These high-conservation-value dry forests and related
grasslands are under extreme threat in many countries
and have been targeted by many international conservation
agencies as an urgent conservation priority. Apart from
their conservation value, many species are highly attractive
(e.g. deciduous flowering trees and shrubs and numerous
species of orchids and gingers). Existing tourist routes
within the park intercept the majority of vegetation
types and animal habitat that present differing seasonal
extremes of appearance.
Release of the WWF-India publication Biodiversity Assessment
in the North Bank Landscape, North East India.
publication was formally released at the Centenary
Celebration and received with much acclaim. It contains
the results of a previous survey conducted by WWF-India
with assistance from CBM. Copies can be obtained from