Forest dept signs MoU with NGOs for regeneration of Savannah grasslands - Hindustan Times
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Forest dept signs MoU with NGOs for regeneration of Savannah grasslands

Feb 16, 2024 06:58 AM IST

As part of ‘Grassland Conservation Programme’, the wildlife division of the Pune forest department has signed MoU with two NGOs for regeneration of Savannah grasslands

Pune: As part of its ‘Grassland Conservation Programme’, the wildlife division of the Pune forest department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for regeneration of the Savannah grasslands spread over three districts in Maharashtra. The MoU was signed on February 14 between Tushar Chavhan, deputy conservator of forests (wildlife); and Pune-based The Grasslands Trust and Bangalore-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment. The two NGOs will be assisting the forest department with the regeneration of the Savannah grasslands at Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Pune; Great Indian Bustard (GIB) Sanctuary, Solapur; and Ahmednagar district.

As part of ‘Grassland Conservation Programme’, the wildlife division of the Pune forest department has signed MoU with two NGOs for regeneration of Savannah grasslands. (HT)
As part of ‘Grassland Conservation Programme’, the wildlife division of the Pune forest department has signed MoU with two NGOs for regeneration of Savannah grasslands. (HT)

Globally, grasslands including the Savannahs are under serious threat from land use diversions for development and degradation and fragmentation of the remaining land, undermining their capacity to support biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human wellbeing. Yet, these important ecosystems, that have historically been home to some of the world’s most iconic herbivores and carnivores and continue to support the majority of the world’s livestock with millions of people dependent upon them for their livelihood, are largely ignored in sustainable development agendas. These ecosystems are urgently in need of policy changes to protect them, and targeted action to restore them. The partnership of civil society organisations and local stakeholders (both government and non-government) is needed to develop best practices, and scientifically and socially restore these semi-arid Savannah grasslands.

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Mihir Godbole, founder and trustee, The Grasslands Trust, said, “Working with our partners from the NGO sector, we will pilot this work in a focal landscape of Pune district, which will then serve as a model that can be expanded across the peninsular region.”

“In our focal landscape, we will work towards objectives including development of scientifically sound strategies for restoring grasslands, reversing land degradation, assessment of indicators of restoration success, outreach and creation of awareness,” Godbole said.

In November 2023, a research paper published in the Journal of Ecology by the British Ecological Society had highlighted that the savannahs, a mixed woodland-grassland ecosystem, are becoming increasingly rare and that they need to be protected worldwide.

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