Wildlife biodiversity plan for Assam
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is drawing up a biodiversity strategy and action plan for Assam.
An official said though Assam had prepared a biodiversity strategy and action plan in 2002, it was out of sync with National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which was updated in 2014 and includes newly formulated 12 national biodiversity targets.
One of the targets was asking all states to develop local strategies and action plans.
A high-level stakeholder consultation workshop, first in a series, was organised jointly by Assam State Biodiversity Board and Wildlife Institute of India on September 16 here, which was attended by 50 officials from various departments and organisations.
The discussion focused on status and trends of wild and domestic flora and fauna, biodiversity management inside and outside protected areas of Assam and existing finance mechanisms, which were emphasised by V.B. Mathur, director, Wildlife Institute of India, and by A.K. Johari, additional principal chief conservator of forests (biodiversity and climate change) and member secretary of Assam State Biodiversity Board.
The official said Assam being a constituent unit of the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity region has an important role to play in the global conservation scenario. The state is well known for its unique biodiversity, rich with diverse ecological habitats such as forests, grasslands and wetlands that harbour and sustain wide-ranging flora and fauna species. The protected area network of Assam includes five national parks and 18 wildlife sanctuaries.
The plan will be ready by August next year and would benefit the state as it will come up with an effective and holistic strategy and action plan for Assam's biodiversity conservation. The plan is to conduct more consultation workshops at grassroots level in different parts of the state.
The participants were senior officers from state departments like environment and forests and public works, scientists, university experts from Gauhati University, Cotton College State University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, experts from organisations like Assam Science Technology and Environment Council, Tocklai Tea Research Institute, Rain Forest Research Institute, and NGOs like Aaranyak, WWF-India, WTI. Representatives from Tocklai Tea Research Institute said tea, which is so important for the state, should find mention in the plan.