ECOCLUB

ISSN 1108-8931

INTERNATIONAL ECOTOURISM MONTHLY

Year 5-Issue 52, Sep 2003

The Expert

The Expert showcases contributions by our Expert Members who offer a free basic consultancy to businesses on their topic of expertise.

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Need to Conserve Floristic Diversity in Hadoti Plateau of Rajasthan
Article by Neerja Shrivastava, (Expert M, India)

Hadoti plateau is situated at the edge of Malwa plateau at 23.45 to 25.53 North latitudes and 75.9 to 77.26 East longitude in the southeastern corner of Rajasthan state in India. Hadoti plateau is quite unique due to its historical and cultural heritage as well as its geographical location and physiography. The world Hadoti takes its origin from word Hada which was a sect of gallant Chauhan Rajput warriors. Hadoti region is mainly composed of low hills and discretely distributed plateau area with shallow plains. The climate of Hadoti region is sub humid and area is surrounded by a semiarid sub humid region. The vegetation is mostly composed of mixed deciduous type forests, with clear indications of the adverse effect of climatic, edaphic and biotic factors on plant communities present in various localities of the area.

The Hadoti plateau has a varied ecosystem and the diverse species contain invaluable natural resources. The region has one of the best scope in India for providing the genetic resource for future development, a large potentiality in the products for a wide range of various goods and presents a remarkable contribution in the system of regulation of climate and rainfall patterns.

The plateau has three protected areas, Darah, Ramgarh and Shergarh sanctuaries, which showcase its floristic diversity. Floristic diversity means floristic variety or variety of plant forms. Rich floristic diversity suggests a great many kinds of plant species and conversely poor diversity indicates fewer kinds of living species. On this diversity hinges the future , health and vibrant beauty of the living planet. A habitat of floristic diversity contains wild species and genetic variation within it, is useful in the development of agriculture, medicines and industry.

The great floristic diversity of Hadoti plateau has contributed to the expression of very rich cultural diversity one of whose major components in knowledge of natural resources as an integral part of its culture and which is revealed not only in the systematic knowledge of the native people of Hadoti plateau with regards to native flora and fauna but also the development of a large of cultivated plants of ethnobotanical importance.

Increased human population in the last few decades demanding development in various spheres has resulted directly or indirectly in sudden and often far reaching disturbances in natural ecosystem. Due to mining operation, in various localities of this region the forest vegetation has been completely denuded and large heaps or rather hillocks of stone scraps may be observed at various places. Diversity loss occurs at the level of ecosystems, species populations and genes . Moreover land use change influenced the evolutionary and ecological processes that generate and maintain diversity. Land quality indicators can provide useful information about the possible effects of habitats and landscape alteration on ecological and evolutionary processes. Such indicators include size and number and number habitat fragment, the degree of the fragments and the landscape matrix within which fragments are embedded.

Number of plants species loss is often the most widely used measure of diversity depletion. The loss of diversity in Hadoti plateau is not only an ethical tragedy but also a great social, economic and cultural one. To prevent loss there is a growing realisation of the need to motivate people on all aspects of managements of natural resources.

Biointegrity is necessary for safe guarding bio wealth. It is the time now, the adequate steps should be initiated to protect and conserve the biological species for which proper strategy has to be drawn. The best way will be to concentrate on the conservation of phytodiversity / floristic diversity, which will automatically take care of animals, and microbial diversity because most of the plants provide food shelter and congenial habitat to a large number of animals and microbes. It has been realised that it naturally becomes our recognised duty on the platform of humanity to conserve the floristic diversity resource areas in the Hadoti plateau.

References
Dadhich, L.K.1999.Priorititaion of biodiversity in Rajasthan: Indian Science Congress Association, Pune
Sharma. N. 2002. The flora of Rajasthan. Aavishkaer publishers JAIPUR.

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Reply by Carlos Libosada (Expert M, Philippines) to an Enquiry on 'Government programs to support a new ecotourism resort in the Philippines':

If you're interested in the government assistance program on ecotourism, I think you should try to check out the Department of Tourism. DOT and DENR have an ecotourism unit based right now at the DOT. I'm just not sure if they have already came out with that program. The last I heard from them is that they will come up with an ecotourism grant program. I heard it about a year ago, but knowing how slow things work here, I really don't know if they are half way through it. By the way, I made the proposal on that when I left DOT 5 years ago. Check DOT's website ( www.wowphilippines.com.ph ) or their landline 5238411 (trunkline, and ask to be connected to the ecotourism unit). The Department of Finance has a window, but I heard its only provided for the local government units. The Development Bank of the Philippines has a loans window also, but in coordination with the DOT. Aside from them, I don't know of any other assistance provided by the government. By the way, I just came from an eco-village somewhere near Metro Manila. Its a 24 hectare property that is self sufficient, good forest, and an outdoor program. The owner is an ultra-environmentalist. You should check this out when you return here. The name is Earthaven.

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Reply by Samuel Segun Odunlami (Expert M, Nigeria) to an Enquiry on 'Developing an Ecotourism Attraction':

Yes, it is possible for you to develop any resource into tourist attraction. But before deciding on developing a resource for tourism and especially ecotourism, one need to face the reality that tourism is a double edge sword. That is, it has both positive and and negative impacts. It is this fact that will guide the development at the planning stage. While it may not be too difficult to develop any other type of tourism. However, ecotourism development involves a lot of other consideration and transcend community/local, regional and national considerations. Although there are other issues which are also common with other form of tourism. First, the resource for ecotourism development has to be natural and in fact ecotourism involves developing natural resource into tourism and ecotourism is averse to the convectional tourism which is mass oriented. More so ecotourism basically involves developing a natural phenomenon under conservation either by the local/regional or central/federal governments as the case may be .Hence turning a protected area into tourism attraction requires some special considerations of national interests. Globally ecotourism sites are protected areas under federal or international protection acts or convections and are of national and/international significance although there are few ones that are privately owned especially in Africa. You actually need to find out first if members of your community will be receptive to outsiders be it from the local environment or foreign nationals. Also you will need to find out the level of their tolerance to strangers. You will also need to equip yourself with facts relating to the market you really want to target and if foreign nationals from a particular region or continent do visit your country and your area in particular. Information with respect to these issues will determine your market and the market methodology you are going to employ. You need to know that ecotourism has its own unique market. I will also expect you to have identify a particular protected area in your community and if there is none already you will need to identify a natural feature in your community that could be develop into an ecotourism attraction site. It could be an area or a piece of land that is endowed with wildlife or wildland or an area with a spectacular natural feature such as highlands, mountains, water falls or other unique feature. You will then need to find out what the government planned the land or the area for. This is necessary regarding its acquisition. But if you already have a protected land this process may not be necessary. You will only need to dialogue with the relevant authority about your intentions to develop the place for ecotourism. If this is approved or agreed to. Then you will then need to find out facts relating to its marketing just as I have stated earlier. It is also important to state that this process will take some time and investment in ecotourism , similar to other forms of tourism is capital intensive and can take some time before you start reaping its benefits just like any other investments. The issue of accommodation is another area you will also need to consider seriously. I hoped I have been able to answer parts of your enquiry. The fact is the issue cannot be comprehensively addressed now. I hoped to read from you the soonest.

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Reply by Leon Dempers (Expert M, South Africa) to an Enquiry on 'Ecotourism Certification Programs in S.Africa':

I am not aware of any ecotourism certification programmes elsewhere in Africa, and the only scheme that currently comes close in this country is one run by Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa www.fairtourismsa.org.za which seeks to secure access to tourism markets for disadvantaged communities. WESSA is most unlikely to provide such a service in the foreseeable future as it has its limited number of hands full with purely conservation and environmental issues. I am not aware of any local ecotourism society. If anyone were to launch such a programme it would have to be Government, perhaps in association with SATourism, but it is probably a long, long way off if the scraps over accommodation grading is anything to go by.

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