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Project Name
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Forest Fire Prevention Programme in Panna Tiger Reserve
Outreach & Awareness
SUMMARY: Panna National Park and the surrounding territorial forest area of North and South Panna forest division is the only large chunk of wildlife habitat remaining in North Madhya Pradesh in the otherwise deciduous fragmented forest landscape of the region. However, despite being a rich landscape with regard to it’s biodiversity, it is extremely dry which makes this habitat vulnerable to forest fires thereby endangering the landscape and it’s tigers who have made a steady comeback in the last 10 years, with the current population figure at 52. Apart from the fauna, forest fires often endanger the lives of the frontline staff as well, who have to undertake fire fighting activities in the summer months with a few lives even being lost to this phenomenon, Thus, via this programme, we not only look to create awareness among the local community members about the threats of forest fires, but garner their support to help protect the habitat and the slowly rising tiger numbers.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this programme is to prevent any forest fires from being induced by human beings, especially during the Summer season.

PROJECT: The Panna landscape, although rich in biodiversity, has shortage of groundwater, which makes it is extremely dry and susceptible to forest fires, which is not only currently the biggest threat to the habitat, but also endangers the lives of the people like Forest guards, who are at the forefront of firefighting and of the fauna living within the reserve, including the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger, which the reserve has lost once in 2009 due to poaching and habitat loss. Thus, in order to avoid the debacle of 2009 and to ensure protection of the Panna landscape, we aim to work with the community members to help them understand the danger of forest fires and how best to prevent them, by conducting awareness sessions among the villagers living in the core and buffer zone of Panna TR.

As we, at Last Wilderness Foundation, believe that to save the forests and its tigers, we must consider the interests of the people living around and within the forest. They are as much custodians of the forests as the rest of us in the outside world and must be given an opportunity to appreciate and understand the forest better, understand the correlation between conservation of tigers and the survival of mankind which they often miss out on in their daily fight to survive. Hence, in partnership with the Panna Forest Department, LWF conducts outreach and awareness programme by inviting villagers to actively participate and take ownership of protecting the forests.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Villagers from the buffer and core zone villages of Panna Tiger Reserve. No. of villages : 13

PRIOR EXPERIENCE: Panna Tiger Reserve has a total of 49 villages. Last Wilderness Foundation, in partnership with Panna Tiger Reserve, has been working on the forest fire prevention programme with the villagers. The first leg of the programme was conducted in February 2019 wherein we covered 16 villages. The second leg of the programme was initiated in January 2020, wherein we covered 20 villages.

PREVIOUS SUCCESS STORY: In 2019, this programme was conducted for 500 villagers across 16 villages in Panna and the success story of the same can be seen in our report given below along with the feedback from the Forest Department - http://thelastwilderness.org/portfolio/forest-fire-prevention-programme-panna-tr/

METHODOLOGY:
1. An advance meeting is conducted in the selected villages along with the Forest Department personnel, to orient them about this programme and to solicit nominations of 20-25 villagers who would be taking part in the 1-day workshop.
2. A pre-decided date is allocated to each village for the 1-day workshop.
3. Trained resource people conduct these workshops which includes an A/V session, meals & refreshments, fun-learning games for the adults, a safari in the core area of Panna Tiger Reserve, souvenirs/ memento to carry back to their villages.
4. An interactive session (open house) of the villagers with a senior officer from the Forest Dept who can address their issues, if any.
4. A followup with each village to ensure active participation and co-operation in protection.
5. With the help of the Forest Department, close monitoring of the forest-fires, if any.
Panna Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
1 year
Rs. 6,00,000/-
Vidya Venkatesh
vidya.venkatesh@thelastwilderness.org