Wildlife corridors are critical to manage wildlife and maintain ecological processes. However, they are fragmented and degraded due to various anthropogenic activities. Fragmentation in turn affects population viability of species by affecting their dispersal, re-colonization and genetic exchanges. But the process can be reversed through restoration and management of ‘functional corridors’. So far in the forestry sector, monoculture plantations are known to be the ideal reforestation/afforestation strategy to restore degraded landscape but experts argue that monoculture plantations have failed to recover former biological diversity. Therefore, for successful eco-restoration, first, the regional plant stock has to be identified and then suitable plant species have to be prioritized. The habitat enrichment through assisted vegetation method in the degraded wildlife corridors can improve green cover and also bring back the original vegetation. The study was conducted in the Edeyarahalli-Doddasampige wildlife corridor area, which is part of Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats, India. The vegetation was enumerated through transect and quadrate method. The vegetation structure was analyzed and ten suitable native plant species were prioritized for eco-restoration. The priority was given based on site condition and socio-ecological importance of the plants such as trees with timber value, non-timber forest products, nectar source for honey bees and also food source for elephants. At a time of unprecedented forest destruction, the interventions made through this line of research would not only improve the habitat quality but also increase the functionality of wildlife corridors by providing safe passage for animals’ movement. In addition to this, convergence of local multistakeholders and their responsibility needs to be explored toward eco-restoration process.
Part of the book: Vegetation