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Roadmaps For Sucsess


Edited by Mahesh Rangarajan , M.D. Madhusudan and Ghazala Shahabuddin 
Orient BlackSwan, Noida, 2014, pp. xii 270, price not stated.


The book’s title in itself is an indication of the approach of its contents to the fact of Nature not being confined to specified protected areas alone. It is to be found way beyond and the issue really is how the growth of human needs be reconciled within the given static natural space. The editors of the book, in their lengthy and critical overview of the issues note that Nature’s array of life forms and diverse eco systems is under intense pressure in a country where most of the population is still largely rural. The National parks and sanctuaries themselves are only 2,00,000 sq. kms in area and account for less than 5% of India’s land mass. Small as they are, they have succeeded in some measure in protecting flora and fauna. The editors point out that on closer examination they have failed in some cases, most notably, tiger extinction in Sariska or the Great Indian Bustard extinction in Karera.  The editors rightly ask how can one advance nature-friendly agendas on a wider social and ecological canvas on which borders are continuously being redrawn, erased and redrawn? They point out that three paths suggest themselves. Firstly, protected areas succeed to a point. Secondly, therefore, community cooperation and participation is necessary inspite of all its shortcomings. Thirdly, the corporate drive for nature, primarily tourism which is touted as a panacea, though most of the income goes to the corporate entities and not to the local population. They note that the approach for conservation has to be diverse, but deeply conscious of people and practices, ecologies and economies and shifting mosaics. The book brings together a selection of working approaches with different and often more effective ways. It consists of eight papers of diverse areas with broadly the approach suggested by the editors and its title.  The Indian fisheries sector grew with the first Five Year Plan. Aaron Lobo and Rohan Arthur point out that with trawlers coming in, the local fishing communities were the first to suffer. This new mode of catching fish brought new problems. For example one kilo of shrimp caught on the Tamil Nadu coast, 10 kilos of bycatch came along. Along the Coromandel Coast, each trawl rakes up a ‘taxanomi cornucopia’ including sponges, starfish, sea cucumbers, corals, a large diversity of fish species, marine reptiles and an occasional dolphin. The damage done to the ecosystem is incalculable. ...

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