MoEF declares eco-sensitive zones in 4 state sanctuaries
The Indian Expres
The Indian Expres
The 9,318 hectares of Girnar eco-sensitive zone will occupy a five-km radius that covers 27 villages in Bhesan and Junagadh talukas.
Development inside Girnar buffer area to be regulated through zonal master plan
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has declared eco-sensitive zones around the wildlife sanctuaries of Girnar in Junagadh, Purna in Dangs, Narayan Sarovar in Kutch and Vansda National Park in Valsad where mining, industrialisation and tourism activities will be restricted.
The 9,318 hectares of Girnar eco-sensitive zone will occupy a five-km radius that covers 27 villages in Bhesan and Junagadh talukas. Development there is to be regulated through a zonal master plan that is expected to be ready in two years.
Besides being home to the world's last wild population of Asiatic lions, the sanctuary hosts plant and animal biodiversity besides being a catchment area for rivers Sonrakh, Gudajali and Loi. The eco-sensitive zone is expected to preserve this status.
The 25,036 ha zone around the Purna wildlife sanctuary will cover a two-km radius, including 61 villages. Purna hosts almost 3,300 species of trees, herbs, shrubs, climbers, mammals, reptiles, insects and birds.
According to the notification issued this week, the zone around Narayan Sarovar wildlife sanctuary will cover 28 villages in three talukas and occupy 22,588 ha, 62% of which would be non-forest land. It will stretch up to 2.5 kilometers throughout the sanctuary's periphery.
Narayan Sarovar falls under "a separate biotic province of the country" and therefore hosts a distinct gene pool, including grasslands in arid regions, mangrove forests along the coastal stretches and wetlands.
The sanctuary is also home to several rare and threatened species, including chinkara, caracal, wolf, leopard, spiny-tailed lizard, desert cat, the great Indian bustard, lesser florican and the houbara bustard. It also hosts rich mineral deposits, including limestone, lignite, bentonite and bauxite.
The notification said that the Vansda eco-sensitive zone will spread over five kms of the national park's total periphery and cover up to 13 villages.
While tigers once roamed Vansda, it currently hosts nine mammalian species and some rodent species, as well as reptiles and amphibians. Bird species typical of the Western Ghats are found there, as are various kinds of medicinal shrubs and herbs with orchids, litchens and ferns.
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