FOUNDATION FOR RESEARCH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (FRSD)

                         Goals and Strategies

Introduction

The Western Ghats range of mountains in Tamilnadu, India has been declared a global biodiversity hot spot and is one of the most species-rich environments in the world today.  The plants and animals in this biodiversity hotspot occur nowhere else in the world.  Shola forests (tropical montane grasslands) are endemic to this region and are the habitats of several rare and endangered species. In addition to mammals, there is a vast and diverse array of reptiles, amphibians, and birds, some of which are still unknown to science. Unfortunately, large areas on the mountains are subjected to human pressure and invasive alien species (mainly Lantana camara). Scientists have warned us that climate change will cause forest boundaries to shift in the near future and will impact upon mountain biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous communities who depend on natural resources in mountain regions. We urgently need initiatives that can support long-term scientific field research, which can tackle pressing environmental problems that threaten the health of the natural environment in the Western Ghats Mountains in Tamilnadu. Perhaps education on conservation and outreach are essential tools to create awareness among people and prepare our future generations to the need of conserving wildlife and habitat protection.

Present Status

In Tamilnadu, there is no Regional Research Organizations for undertaking long term biodiversity surveys and research activities. Even Universities concentrate on single species that are endangered.  A comprehensive biological survey on the flora and fauna in the Western Ghats range of Mountains in Tamilnadu has not been taken yet. FRSD will start initiating steps for conserving wildlife and their habitats, especially in the Western Ghats Mountains and the regions beneath them.

Major goals

To undertake biological inventories and collecting ecological data (flora and fauna endemic to the region) for management strategies and for testing scientific hypothesis”

“To create online mountain biodiversity database through a Bioinformatics Information Center (for geo-referenced data and for spatial visualization of biodiversity information) in Madurai, Tamilnadu, India to provide information on biodiversity with meta database for further research.”

“To publish a detailed book on the Biodiversity of the Western Ghats in Tamilnadu”

“To publish a detailed book on Biological invasions in the Western Ghats and the impacts of the invasions on mountain biodiversity"

 " To initiate steps for preserving the flora and fauna in the region with the help of voluntary organizations in southern districts".

Strategies

Ø  Hosting a regional platform: Entrust the work to a conservation organization (Foundation for Research and Sustainable Development) considering the organization’s experience and involvement in biodiversity conservation as a Member of the CEM, IUCN and the Mountain Forum.

Ø  Involving stakeholders like indigenous communities, local conservation organizations in the mountain areas, Forest Department, Government of Tamilnadu, voluntary organizations and women groups in the region. 

Ø  Initiating suitable mechanisms and developing collaborative research/scientific programs of mutual interest with various national and international organizations, optimizing the efficient utilization of research results for conservation of mountain biodiversity.

Work Plan

v  Develop capacity of project staff in a reputed conservation organization and enhance opportunities for community-based research and monitoring to conserve mountain biodiversity and provide greater benefits to indigenous communities in the Western Ghats, Tamilnadu besides protecting Nature and natural resources.

v  Encourage mapping and inventory of mountain biodiversity and of land-use changes, using analogue and digital databases (remote-sensing, geographic information system) for scientific purposes and for supporting decision-making by the Forest Department, Government of Tamilnadu.

v  Develop strategies focusing on mountain’s ecosystems to prevent the introduction of invasive alien species, control and eradicate their negative impacts on mountain biological diversity. Control and management of invasive alien species like Lantana camara, Chromolaena odoranta, and Prosopis juliflora etc will be undertaken with the help of local communities and the Forest Department.

v  Conduct research on the impacts of climate change on the Western Ghats Mountain’s biodiversity and suggest measures to reduce the negative impact and for restoration ecology.

v  Documentation of the flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats in Tamilnadu region. (identify flagship species, keystone species, rare and endangered species listed in the IUCN’s Red List will be documented separately.)

v Conducing mountain surveys in various hot spots including Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks etc in the region. These surveys will consider inventories at genetic, species and ecosystem levels.

v  Conducting surveys on primates in the region like magnificent lion tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur and slender loris in the entire Western Ghats mountain region in Tamilnadu.

vi  Educating our people on using natural intelligence as a resource to combat climate change.