Six states to discuss conservation of Western Ghats, livelihood

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Environment and forest ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu will meet here on Tuesday to discuss conservation of biodiversity of the Western Ghats and ways to provide adequate livelihood security to the local residents.

According to an official release, the meeting to be attended by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar will review the progress of physical demarcation of ecologically sensitive area in Western Ghats.

“The main focus of the meeting will be to conserve the biodiversity of the Western Ghats region, while providing adequate opportunities for livelihood security of the local people in the broad paradigm of ecologically sensitive area,” the release said.

The environment ministry had published a draft notification last year for declaring an ecologically sensitive area in the Western Ghats in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The identified ecologically sensitive area represents a continuous band of natural vegetation, extending over a horizontal distance of about 1,500 km along the west coast of the country.

Western Ghats is regarded as a global biodiversity hotspot harbouring many endemic species of flowering plants, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates. It supports population of about 50 million people.

“There is a need to conserve and protect the unique biodiversity of western ghats, while allowing for sustainable and inclusive development of the region. The concept of ecologically sensitive area provides a mechanism to conserve biologically diversity of an area while allowing for sustainable development to take place,” the release said.

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