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India Eco Development Project

Concept & Objectives    

The Concept 

In Indian context, the exclusivity of Protected Areas (PA), as envisaged in the developed countries is not possible, due to human dominated landscapes in and around them. The population is largely rural that draw on the resources of the PA for subsistence. A participatory management strategy of protected areas, Eco-development aims at conserving the bio-diversity by addressing both the impact of local people on the protected areas and the impact of the protected areas on local people. In response to the changed paradigm of partnership, Ecodevelopment Committees (EDCs) emerged around many PAs.

Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Kerala is one among the seven PAs in India selected for the implementation of IEP. In accordance with the tripartite agreement signed between the external donor agencies (World Bank & IDA), Government of India (GOI) and Government of Kerala (GOK), Eco-development Committees were constituted.


The goal of the project is conservation of bio-diversity through people's participation.


To improve capacity of PA management to conserve bio-diversity and increase opportunity for local participation in PA management.
To reduce negative impact of local people on biodiversity, reduce negative impact of PA on local people, and increase collaboration of local people in conservation efforts.
3. To develop more effective and extensive support for community development activities.

Components of the project

1. Improved PA Management
2. Village Eco-development
3. Education and Awareness
4. Impact Monitoring & Research

Involving local people in conservation

Around 25000 people living around the reserve used to exert considerable pressure on the forest resources for their sustenance. Eco-development project aims to reduce this pressure by addressing their social and economic needs employing novel and sustainable approaches.This also ensures a reciprocity in forest conservation which will ideally act as a social fence around the PA.
In Periyar, presently there are 72 EDCs. The target population is about 58,000. Different categories of EDCs include village EDCs like Tribal settlements,hamlets etc. Some are user groups like Graziers, fuelwood and thatching grass collectors and pilgrimage based EDCs. There is a third category of professional group EDCs like Ex-Cinnamon Bark Collectors EDC, Tribal Trackers cum Guides EDC, Watchers Welfare EDC etc. In the neighbourhood EDCs the stress is on socio-economic upliftment, in user group the stress is on reduction of negative impact on PA resources, and in professional group EDC it is the promotion of long-term positive interaction of the group with the PA.

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