The Nilgiris are a home to unique ecosystems, densely populated with a vast array of flora and fauna. The NBR includes a variety of interconnected habitats, including shola montane forests, tropical dry evergreen forests, and tropical dry deciduous forests. The natural habitats of these hills are famous for their richness in diversity with several rare, endangered and endemic species. This uniqueness in flora and fauna has enabled the region to be established as the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

The field of biodiversity and restoration addresses questions concerning ecology and management of these endemic and economically valuable species and their vulnerable habitats. Keystone’s focus is centered upon understanding of ecosystem service, human wildlife interactions, conducting biodiversity assessments, and documenting traditional use of indigenous knowledge. The Keystone approach involves applied research, restoration efforts, outreach and knowledge networks with communities, academia, forest managers and voluntary agencies.

Programme Components

CHALLENGES

Lack of data – not enough research has been done to map out the rich flora and fauna of the region in order to know the full range of habitat-changes and loss of endemic species •  Lack of biodiversity planning – everything from waste management to infrastructure and farming needs to take into account the complex and intricate workings of the ecosystem •  Climatic shifts •  Wildlife interaction – as human populations and activities expand, the more it infringes on wildlife habitat, resulting in more negative interactions.  

INTERVENTIONS

Education and awareness raising •   Documentation – through books, papers and reports Keystone documents and gathers knowledge on the surrounding environment and the local examples are used for teaching school children and communities •  Trainings – over the last few years a lot of focus has been put into trainings such as sustainable farming and harvesting of wild produce in the region •  Establishing seed banks and nurseries  •  Establishment of the Nilgiri Natural History Society in 2009 which serves as a network and platform for engaging in conservation locally.  

IMPACTS

A balance of conservation, development and livelihoods through Keystone's diverse areas of work and engagement •   Influence of both young and old: through trainings, workshops and the Village Elder program, Keystone has been able to do inter generational work on conservation  •  Gathering of knowledge – through documentation and programs, Keystone has obtained and conserved indigenous knowledge about the area that might otherwise have been lost.

 

 

 

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