BRT sanctuary generates annual income of ₹2.39 cr. for tribals: Study

Survey covered 248 households in the area; Soliga is the major tribal community residing near the sanctuary

September 22, 2019 07:47 am | Updated 07:47 am IST - Bengaluru

MYSORE, 07/06/2007: Biligiriranga Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a protected reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act in Biligiri Rangana Betta, has a critical habitat since it is home to eco-systems that are unique to both the mountain ranges - Western and Eastern Ghats
Photo: M. A. Sriram

MYSORE, 07/06/2007: Biligiriranga Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a protected reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act in Biligiri Rangana Betta, has a critical habitat since it is home to eco-systems that are unique to both the mountain ranges - Western and Eastern Ghats Photo: M. A. Sriram

Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary (BRTWLS) , which is located between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, generates an annual income of ₹2.39 crore for the tribal communities living in the vicinity of the sanctuary in Karnataka.

A recent study on ‘’Economic Value of BRTWLS’ (2019) conducted by M. Balasubramanian, assistant professor with the Institute of Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru, found that the sanctuary’s most important contribution was carbon sequestration (₹1.44 crore), followed by recreational services (₹38 lakh), provisioning services that incl ude non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and production of silver wood, fruits, coffee and pepper (₹36 lakh), and soil erosion p revention (₹21 lakh).

The study, which was funded by Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi, used the market price method and travel cost methods for estimating the income and found that NTFPs constituted more than 60% of the Soliga tribal household income.

The survey conducted from June 2018 to April 2019 covered 248 households. The Soliga is the major tribal community residing in the vicinity of the sanctuary.

NTFPs are sold through the Large Adivasi Multi-purpose Cooperative Society (LAMP) located at the wildlife sanctuary. Average annual income of a household from NTFPs has been estimated between ₹10,000 and ₹12,000.

The findings of the study showed that non-timber forest products such as honey, gooseberry, and shikakai (Acacia Concinna) are major sources of livelihood for households, but they are seasonal.

The sanctuary is spread over 574.8 sq km. “After it was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1972, and as a tiger reserve in 2011, tribals have been facing a number of constraints related to the collection of NTFPs. Imperfect price for NTFPs and absence of electricity connections to some households (only solar) and other infrastructure facilities are major constraints,” the study said.

Fuel wood was one of the primary energy sources of cooking for households, with an average of 3,715 kg of wood collected per household a year.

A majority of the households have small plots for cultivating coffee, pepper, silver wood, guava, lemon, ginger, and jackfruit. Families earn a substantial portion of their income from these agricultural products. Most of the provisioning services are currently traded in the market based on the local market price.

However, only 40% of the households have two acres, and more than 50% of the households don’t have any for m of land, the study found.

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