Devalsari likely to become Uttarakhand’s first biodiversity heritage site

BySuparna Roy
Feb 02, 2021 04:49 PM IST

Villagers in most cases do not agree to a heritage site tag because it can restrict development activities. But in the case of Devalsari the villagers themselves sent a proposal seeking a heritage tag.

Devalsari region in Tehri Garhwal district is likely to be declared as the first biodiversity heritage site of Uttarakhand, officials said Tuesday.

A view of Devalsari in Uttarakhand's Tehri Garhwal district.(HT PHOTO)
A view of Devalsari in Uttarakhand's Tehri Garhwal district.(HT PHOTO)

Rajiv Bhartari, head of forest force and director of Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board said that they have received a proposal from locals to declare the area as a heritage site for its rich biodiversity.

“This is the first time that villagers have approached us to declare a particular area as a biodiversity site. Different kinds of flora and fauna including smaller species like butterflies and moths are found abundantly in Devalsari region. We are considering the proposal and once approved it will become the first state declared biodiversity heritage site,” said Bhartari.

He added that the board has been working to declare places as biodiversity heritage sites, but villagers in most cases do not agree as the tag can restrict development activities. But in the case of Devalsari, about 80 km north of Dehradun, the villagers have themselves sent a proposal.

A group of five van (forest) panchayats including Bangsil, Teva, Moldhar, Butkottheek and locals working to protect the area sent a detailed proposal to the biodiversity board last month. The Board is now examining a 25-km stretch of forests as part of the proposal.

Arun Gaur, director of Devalsari Paryavaran Sanrakshan Samiti, who sent the proposal said, “Devalsari region is rich in biodiversity with different plants, animals, birds and butterflies being found there. The region also has a lot of potential for ecotourism. If it is declared as a biodiversity heritage site, then it will become more famous among tourists and protection of rare species can be done in a better manner.”

In October last year, a rare day-flying moth, Achelura bifasciata was spotted in forests of Devalsari in the Garhwal Himalayas for the first time in history. Before this, the moth was last spotted in Kumaon region in 1890s after which it was spotted in large numbers in Tehri Garhwal district’s Sreedev Suman Titli Park, a butterfly park created by locals.

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