A major conservation issue, particularly in the tropics, is habitat loss and fragmentationdue to developmental activities and increasing human populations. Ecologists todayrecognise that much of the once-pristine forests that are now secondary forests, as wellas large areas outside existing conservation reserves, harbouring significant levels ofbiological diversity need to be targeted for long-term conservation. Governmentalagencies such as the Forest Department and the conservation community have come toaccept that the conventional patrol and protect method has its limitations in addressingthe increasing threats to such conservation areas. A complementary strategy is todevelop conservation plans for protection and improvement by ecological restoration offorests, particularly isolated fragments and degraded areas on private lands. Thisrequires bridging gaps between private landowners, governmental agencies, and non-governmental conservation organisations and fostering efforts based on mutualcooperation and collaboration as well as developing positive incentives for privatelandholders involved in conservation of forests and biological diversity. In this paper,we discuss one of the first examples of such an effort of sharing responsibility for long-term conservation in a highly disturbed tropical rainforest region of the Western Ghats.
Social Change 33(2&3): 129-141.