6 tiger reserves worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore, says valuation study
India has 47 tiger reserves covering over 2% of the area and approximately 10% of the recorded forest area.
In a first of its kind exercise, India has conducted economic valuation of six of its tiger reserves and placed their value at Rs 1,49,900 crore. The study has also noted that these six reserves have been generating annual monetary benefits worth Rs 7,970 crore.
The six tiger reserves which were surveyed for this study are Corbett, Kanha,Kaziranga, Periyar, Ranthambore and Sundarbans.
India has 47 tiger reserves covering over 2% of the area and approximately 10% of the recorded forest area. Latest tiger census, released on Tuesday, shows that India – which is home to 70% of world’s tiger population – has a total of 2,226 tigers.
The valuation study, executed by Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal, at the behest of the environment ministry’s National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA), provides quantitative & qualitative estimates of benefits accruing from tiger reserves which include economic, social and cultural services.
“The study findings indicate that the monetary value of flow benefits emanating from selected tiger reserves range from Rs 830 crore to Rs 1,760 crore annually. In terms of unit area, this translates into Rs 50,000 to Rs 190,000 per hectare per year,” said the summary of the report released simultaneously with the tiger census by the Union environment and forests minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday.
The report shows that Periyar tiger reserve has the highest annual flow benefits (Rs 1,760 crore), followed by Kanha (Rs 1,650 crore) and Corbett (Rs 1,470 crore).
The study is expected to assist policy makers in appreciating the economics of tiger conservation and may be considered by them while taking a call on any project in future.
“The study, which is a first of its kind not only in the country but across the world, is a commendable attempt to provide an assessment of economic benefits from tiger reserves across a range of tiger landscape in India,” said Javadekar.
The experts while calculating the economic value of these six tiger reserves took into account the monetary estimates of a range of “ecosystem services” including water provisioning, gene-pool protection, carbon storage and sequestration among others tangible and intangible benefits. Potential of employment generation and tourism had also been factored in while conducting the valuation exercise.
The findings may provide justification for enhanced investment in such areas which are critical to ensure flow of vital life-supporting ecological, economic, social and cultural services from these genetic repositories.
“The findings will assist the policy makers appreciating the economics of tiger conservation in India and help in developing and further strengthening policy frameworks for conservation of natural eco-systems”, said the 284 page report titled ‘Economic Valuation of Tiger Reserves in India: A Value plus Approach’.