SDM Project: Problems and ‘prospects’ of SEPLS’ conversion for alternate benefits –A research case study from the Western Ghats
M. S. SWAMINATHAN RESEARCH FOUNDATION, INDIA
DATE OF SUBMISSION
SEPLS, Western Ghats, Lateritic Biotopes, Laterite Hills
Dr N. Anil Kumar, Executive Director
This project comes up with a research case study from the Western Ghats on the problems and ‘prospects’ of converting Laterite Hills, a Socially and Ecologically Productive Landscape (SEPLS) for alternate benefits. These hills are the source of water and nutrients for the valleys where people live densely and do farming extensively. The rich biodiversity in the hilltops supports endemic and unique flora across seasons. This case reveals that the Laterite Hills are the most imposing but extremely threatened topographical feature of Northern Kerala. Mining and quarrying activities and ruthless constructions are silently destroying these biotopes beyond repair. The status quo of the lateritic hills, as ‘wastelands’ in public concern, accelerate this process. In consultation with people, local governments and researchers, the project has developed a case with a few recommendations which can be used for further regional planning and policy formulation. Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) at the Local Self Governments, constituted under The Biological Diversity Act (2002) becomes all the more relevant in this context. The BMC’s need to be strengthened and made aware of the importance of conserving the laterite hillocks.
Landscape of Madayippara, a laterite hill in Northern Kerala
A quarry site in the laterite hill