Developing an effective multiple use management framework for conserving biodiversity in the mountain landscapes of the High Ranges, Western Ghats, India.

Lead country


Participating countries


Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From May 15, 2014 to March 14, 2022

Project ID: 4651

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Technical team

  • Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Ecosystem management and restoration
  • Mainstreaming biodiversity


  • Forests
  • Conserved areas


  • Montane forests
  • Key biodiversity areas (KBAs)

Transformed sector(s)

  • Forestry and other land use
  • Tourism
  • Agriculture

UNDP role(s)

  • Capacity development / Technical assistance
  • Innovative approaches
  • Institutional mechanism and system building


  • Governance
  • Law regulation
  • Management operation


  • Partnerships
  • Institutional framework
  • Laws/ Policy/ Plan formulation
  • Ecosystem and ecosystem services conservation/restoration

Social inclusion

  • Local community/CSOs

Gender equality

  • Livelihoods for women
  • Women's cooperatives and groups

Gender result effectiveness scale

  • Gender responsive


  • Systems pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Improve resilience

SDG target(s)

  • 15.4 Conserve mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity
  • 15.7 End wildlife poaching, illegal species trafficking
  • 15.9 Integrate ecosystem values into national planning

Conventions and protocols

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs)

Private sector(s)


Hot topic


About this project


The project will conserve globally significant biological diversity in the High Ranges of the Western Ghats. It will put in place a cross-sectoral land use management framework, and compliance monitoring and enforcement system to ensure that development in production sectors such as tea, cardamom and tourism is congruent with biodiversity conservation needs. The project will seek to establish a conservation compatible mosaic of land uses, anchored in a cluster of protected areas, managed to protect wildlife refugia and corridor areas on production lands. It will catalyze a shift from the current sector-focused land use planning system, which is deficient because it does not account for the adverse cumulative direct and indirect impacts of different production activities across economic sectors on biodiversity. Unless tackled, this situation is likely to lead to the loss of globally significant biodiversity in a key biodiversity area. Furthermore, the land management system will seek to avoid, reduce and mitigate the impacts of roads and other physical infrastructure in ecologically sensitive areas. In this regard, it will ensure that the indirect impacts of development are taken into account in decision making. In parallel, the project will seek to engineer a paradigm shift towards sustainable use of wild resources by local communities, where such use is currently unsustainable or is projected to become so as a result of changes in population and consumption. In taking a landscape approach to conservationÔÇöthe project will work both within and outside of protected areas. It is designed to realize GEF Biodiversity Focal Area Strategic Objective One: Improve sustainability of Protected Area (PA) systems by seeking to expand coverage (by 13,400 hectares) and strengthen the management effectiveness of a cluster of PAs (around 26,600 ha) . The project is developing a new paradigm for the management of mountain landscapes, building on PAs. In doing so it will reduce pressures on PAs, and establish a replicable model that will improve the security of other PAs in the PA system in mountain areas. It will also improve conservation and management of forest fragments and other High Value Biodiversity Areas (HVBAs) in around 59,000 ha of adjacent production lands, thus advancing Biodiversity Strategic Objective Two: Mainstream biodiversity, conservation and sustainable use into production landscapes, seascapes and sectors. The foci production activities include tea and cardamom estates, forest plantations, private tree plantations, homestead agro-forestry, tourism, and urban and peri urban development. These production lands provide habitats vital to the survival of threatened wide ranging fauna, including Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dogs, Elephants and Gaur, amongst others. NATIONAL STRATEGIES AND PLANS OR REPORTS AND ASSESSMENTS UNDER RELEVANT CONVENTIONS. The project is directly supportive of and consistent with IndiaÔÇÖs national priorities and policies related to global environmental concerns and development. The National Biodiversity Action Plan, 2008 advocates the integration of biodiversity concerns into economic and social development plans and investments. The National Environmental Policy, 2008 prioritizes measures for conserving the mountain ecosystems in the country . The National Forest Policy 1988 stipulates that 60% of the countryÔÇÖs extensive mountainous region need to be under forest and tree cover while the National Wildlife Action Plan, 2008 stipulates expansion of the PA network to incorporate areas of representative biodiversity. Other national policies, legislation and guidelines relevant to this project are: National Water Policy (2002), National Agricultural Policy (2000), National Tourism Policy (1998), Biological Diversity Act (2002), Indian Forest Act (1927), Forest (Conservation) Act (1980), Wildlife (Protection) Act (1972), Environmental (Protection) Act (1986), The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (2006), National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development (1992), National Action Plan on Climate Change, (2008), and Joint Forest Management Orders and Guidelines. The project is also in consonance with the decisions adopted by the 10th Conference of Parties to the CBD on Mountain Biological Diversity and fulfillment of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Further, integrated management of mountain landscapes is identified as a priority area by the GEF-UNDP supported National Capacity Self-Assessment - Thematic Assessment Report on Biodiversity (2007). The project was discussed at length and endorsed as a priority in the GEF National Dialogue Initiative (NDI) which was initiated in 2010 and which concluded in September 2011.


To protect biodiversity of the High Range Mountain Landscape of the southern Western Ghats in peninsular India from existing and emergent threats through building an effective collaborative governance framework for multiple use management.

USD $6,363,600

Grant amount

USD $30,445,000

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($6,363,600)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Government of India

Project metrics

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation