The “Save the Western Ghats” project is a community driven, grass roots initiative spread across the state of Karnataka. The initiative is to alleviate the affects of the alarming rate of loss of tree cover in the Western Ghats region which covers 7 districts Karnataka and to initiate positive action to afforest Western Ghats. The project will strive to regain the ecological balance the western bio diversity is losing and maintain it.
The Western Ghats also known as the Sahyadri is a mountain range which covers an area of 140,000 Sq Km along the western coast of India. In the state of Karnataka, the Western Ghatsstretches over 650 kms in length and 100 km in width covering 7 districts and acts as a rain barrier for the region. The Ghats has consistently lost tree cover due to forest diversion for infrastructural projects and extensive cultivation. If immediate action is not taken against the rapid loss of tree cover, the already ecologically sensitive area will be a bio diversity disaster affecting local populations including resident plant and animal species. The resulting catastrophe will increase the instances of disastrous rains and floods thus creating an environmental imbalance.
Some disturbing facts
- Large chunks of the Western Ghats covering 4 districts in Karnataka has disappeared over the last 17 years, the area lost stands at 20000 hectares.
- The impact of loss of tree cover and forest cover is directly responsible for the persistent drying up of River Cauvery which is a water source for over 100 million people in the region.
- Dakshina Kannada and Udupi has lost more than 70% of total tree coverage since 2001until 2017.
- The rapid loss of tree cover in the region has increased CO2 emissions to 2.22 lakh tonne.
- The 7 districts of Karnataka Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Hassan, Chikkamagalur, Shivamogga , Uttara Kannada and Udupi has lost a total tree cover of 785.80 Sq Km.
- 7 major infrastructure projects in the Western Ghats has directly caused felling of 1.36 lakh trees and nearly 3 times the same number are of trees are designated for cutting.
Restoring the ecological balance in the Western Ghats region is imperative. The solution involves engaging the relevant authorities, local communities and entities operating in the region on an industrial level to arrive on a consensus to drive environmental policy which will help sustainable development of the Western Ghats. This broad level approach should be complemented by extensive afforestation programs designed to rejuvenate the rapid loss of green cover the Ghats is facing.
- Conduct grassroots level research on direct and indirect implications of loss of trees in the region.
- Identify major areas in the Western Ghats and nominate them for reforestation programs.
- Create state wide campaign and engage community from all major cities and towns in the state to support and work towards the conservation of the Western Ghats.
- Working with poor farmers in the Western Ghats belt and starting a livelihood support program which will explore planting of fruit and fodder species of plants.
- Planting only local species endemic to the region.
How you can collaborate?
Become a “Save the Western Ghats” advocate– Proactively engage in creating awareness programs about Western Ghats conservation in your city town, and raise funds for the principle project and corpus funds.
If you don’t have the time to actively participate in our projects, then you can always support us by donating to the cause and enabling us to plant and grow more trees in the Western Ghats region.