Connecting communities with conservation

By Mallika Vaznaik and Prakriti Mukerjee

Situated near the southern periphery of Goa, the Galgibaga beach and village, along with its importance for olive ridley nesting, contains multiple ecosystems, a diverse collection of flora and fauna and is home to people with a rich cultural heritage. The Goa Forest Department and Dakshin Foundation have come together to work on developing the site to holistically represent the area it encompasses.

With the goal to strengthen the connect between the communities and their surrounding environment, develop spaces that can serve as interactive and dynamic spheres of learning about the environment and related heritage, a conservation reserve is proposed. Conservation Reserves are provided for through an amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 in 2002. They are managed jointly by the forest department and the community that lives around it on land owned by the government. The rules for managing the areas are developed in consultation with experts, forest department and the community.

The Sea Turtle Conservation Reserve is planned on the land the Forest Department has recently acquired on the Galgibaga beach from various private players for sustainable and effective co-management . In order to meet this challenge, all four programmes of Dakshin—Biodiversity and Resource monitoring, Environmental Education, Art, Community and Engagement and Community Resource Governance—have come together to pool together their varied expertise and develop effective inputs. Headquarters have been set up on the field site, less than a mile away from Galgibaga beach.

The local ecosystem is being surveyed and contact has been established with the local  communities and personnel of the Forest Department. Interviews are being conducted with external informants and key internal informants. Both ecological and socio-economic surveys are currently underway. There are future plans for workshops, community-based participation events and visual recordings to be conducted by individuals from the different departments of Dakshin.


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