Modeling Impact of Economic Development Projects on Tiger Conservation Landscape – A Case Study from Nilgiris, India

Areendran, M. Raj, K. Raj, S. Mazumdar, J. Forest, Madhushree Munshi, and E. Wikramanayake | 2012


The Nilgiris, part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) in the Western Ghats range of southwestern India support a good population of Indian tiger (Panthera tigris). However, anthropogenic disturbances pose threat to the tiger habitat in the region. We used geographic information system (GIS) based ‘Tiger Filter’ model to assess the impact of developmental projects on tiger populations and landscape. The model uses field-based information to identify core habitat areas and potential corridors for dispersal, connecting these core areas. The model indicates that the proposed road widening and the railway line will result in fragmentation of core habitat areas and decrease in connectivity between habitat patches. The model allows identification of key restoration areas and thereby makes recommendations for appropriate mitigation such that adverse impacts on tiger conservation landscape will be minimised.