Bombay Environmental Action Group

Lesser-known Habitats Grant 2021

Project Name:

Conservation Management Plan for Bio-cultural Heritage of Konkan ‘Sadas’

Project Brief:

Konkan 'sadas' are endangered ecosystems which have an abundance of endemic Utricularia-Eriocaulon vegetation, supporting populations of endemic geophytes and Dorle gecko. Recently five new species were described from the plateau habitats. These Sadas also have exceptional social-cultural and historical values. Evidence from Sada petroglyphs indicate human habitation of over 10,000 years. The traditional ecological knowledge of local communities includes practices of sustainably harvesting water, fodder and cultivation of crops on Sadas. Currently the biodiversity and cultural heritage of Ratnagiri 'Sadas' are not protected under any law.

BEAG proposes to declare 11 Sadas as Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS) under the provisions of the Biological Diversity Act, (BDA) as it allows for conservation of bio-cultural values in a participatory manner. This includes preparing site specific Conservation Management Plans (CMPs) through a complete assessment of bio cultural heritage values, as well as awareness and capacity building efforts to involve local stakeholders in conservation. The CMPs will be submitted to the State Biodiversity Board for their approval to declare the sites as BHS. The declaration of the BHS will extend support to five of these sites which are currently being considered for declaration as UNESCO World (Mixed) Heritage sites.

Project objectives:
  • Mapping proposed Biodiversity Heritage Sites
  • Documentation of biological and cultural values (including populations of Rare, Endangered, Threatened species, endemic plant communities, petroglyphs and shrines) as per UNESCO's bio-cultural Heritage guidelines.
  • Assessment of key ecosystem services (water, fodder, cultural services) provided by the plateaus.
  • Demarcation and land-use mapping of selected sites to identify current and plausible threats to the heritage elements
  • Awareness campaign for local, national and global level policy organisations
  • Capacity building of local leadership to sustainably manage the sites.
  • Preparing Conservation Management Plans of the sites and submission to the State Government agencies for further action.