Issues - Elephants and People

The principal threat to elephants in the Balpakram Baghmara Community Conservation Landscape - BBCCL (please click The Landscape for details about the BBCCL) arises from conversion of land use to such forms that are not compatible with the survival of elephants. This includes monoculture cash crops such as cashew, areca nut, rubber, coffee and tea; horticulture crops such as pineapple, citrus and temperate fruits and spices such as ginger, and cardamom.   Such conversion permanently banishes forests and drastically reduces habitat available to elephants to meet their ecological requirements.

Large scale conversion of land to commercial crops has had negative consequences for farmers as well. While food security has been the most obvious sufferer, owing to inadequate capacity among farmers, scarce marketing opportunities and a host of other factors, most commercial crop plantations have exhibited declining yields. Such agricultural transformation has thus left farmers extremely vulnerable.

Hence, land use change, on the one hand has had obvious negative consequences for wildlife, particularly elephants, on the other hand expected benefits to farmers have not materialised. On the contrary, food security has been adversely affected and in places elephant - human conflict has been exacerbated. In a sense therefore people and wildlife face a “lose-lose” situation.

The Approach...