Eco Sensitive Zone or Ecologically Fragile Areas – EFAs

This is new concept is being developed, implemented and regulated by MOEF in India.  I believe  eco-development committee with public participation will play a vital role in the management of out ring or the buffer zone of National Parks, tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries ((WLS) all notified as such but deemed to be considered as Protected Areas.   

Practically renaming buffer zone as eco-sensitive zone has very little consequences for the resident public mostly tribal farmers. But this whole exercise would not have been considered without some changes being brought about.  

Farming as usual by the locals will continue outside the limits of reserve forests. Certain industry will be banned as they are already banned but the notification would mean more will fall under the purview.  

The declaration is under the purview of  Environmental Protection Act 1986 in which a sub section 3 (2) (v) empowers the Central Government to manage or notify certain commercial activities in such zones as banned or permissible or to be regulated.  The effort is to provide greater protection and a smooth transition to outer areas which do not face such restrictions.  

Biodiversity, biotic and abiotic pressures, environmental friendly land use limits, pollutants and other factors have to considered whence framing guidelines in these areas which are specific to each Protected Area.  The criteria would be nearly the same like that in declaring No Development Zone by the Government of India.

The guidelines, restrictions etc may be reviewed by the Central Government whenever it decides. The ESZ could be notified keeping ecological sensitivity into account based on species rarity,  ecosystem based and also based on Geo Morphological Features.  

This strategy was formulated in 2002 meeting of  National Board for Wildlife  India. The area designated was ten kilometres in the periphery of the core or in case of tiger reserves the critical tiger habitat.            

Albeit this concept stands as highly important for conservation and environment in India there are  many problems faced by the PAs in different states which are creating a hesitancy. The outer rings around many PAs are ill-defined due to prevalence of a high population density, heavy industries and even major urban settlements. All this will certainly create a state of conflict and make implementation difficult. In around such PAs the die has already been cast. Uprooting established activities would hamper development as many State bodies say.  

We are certainly at cross roads either we give two hoots to wildlife conservation and protection or face upheaval in order to rectify all anomalies made in the past whence the concept of proper land use pattern was not a consideration.  

Besides sustaining the sink populations due to active breeding since conservation initiatives were implemented these are a vital wildlife corridors for migrant species in India. Migration is important for cross breeding and thus the transfer of genes from one distant areas to another. If this is not allowed to happen inbreeding will lead to near extinction possibility hampering all conservation initiatives in the country. Though the need for creating viable corridors is without any doubt, the implementation for political dispensations is difficult as large number of human settlement translocation would be required. 

This is being penned for amateur enthusiasts interested in conservation. In the past few centuries humans have encroached upon sensitive ecosystems and destroyed them. Those remaining or are partially viable are subject of this policy. Many species find coexistence in close vicinity with humans impossible, and furthered by indiscriminate land use mostly for agriculture the sensitive species lose ground quickly. This tragedy has occurred in our country extensively.  Swamp deer is a tangent example of this duress imposed by humans in India.

For greater clarity read article of Wikipedia EFAs          

Further Read: Our Urban Footprints         


Uday Works as Freelance Naturalist and Blogs on conservation, tigers, environmental issues.

He also provides SEO and Website Contents in English. He teaches Digital Marketing in Jabalpur in Summers.

He can be contacted at:

 Mob: 09755089323


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