By Ashoka Trust For Research In Ecology And The Environment and The Grasslands Trust
Maharashtra is the stronghold of some of the last remaining savannah grasslands in the country. However, across the country, these ecosystems are threatened. The threats come in the form of habitat alterations such as CCTs, mass plantation drives, and other development projects such as large scale solar parks. Such interventions are often justified because the habitats are wrongly classified as “wastelands”.
As a step towards addressing this issue, a team at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment has written a policy brief focusing on the need for grassland conservation in Maharashtra, which is an output under the Alliance for Reversing Ecosystem Service Threats (AREST) initiative. The Grasslands Trust partnered with ATREE and played a role in drafting the policy brief.
It includes a detailed review of the history of Maharashtra’s grasslands, the scientific and social relevance of these ecosystems, and the threats faced by them currently. It also includes a detailed mapping of existing legal frameworks, a detailed stakeholder analysis, identification of high-priority areas in the state for immediate interventions using GIS-based analysis, and lastly, a range of viable and implementable recommendations for grassland conservation in Maharashtra.
This policy brief was presented in a sensitization workshop that was conducted at at Vanbhavan, Pune, chaired by the Chief Conservator of Forests, Shri. N. R. Praveen.