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To develop guidelines for the integration of roads and highways in the conservation of Corbett Tiger Reserve

Student name: Ms Rashi Saxena
Guide: Dr Kaushik Ranjan Bandyopadhyay
Year of completion: 2011
Host Organisation: The Corbett Foundation (TCF)
Supervisor (Host Organisation): Dr Harendra Singh Bargali
Abstract: Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) is subject to many developmental pressures today. These include increase in tourism, human population and subsequent infrastructural development in the area. This project is one part of a larger study conducted on these pressures, and focuses on development of road infrastructure in CTR. The other major pressures, namely increase in human population and tourism, are discussed as separate reports. These pressures, among others may be inter-related and lead to what is known as “synergistic impacts” on various stakeholders. Among all the stakeholders, forest and wildlife of the area is what makes it unique.

CTR is home to many endangered species including India’s national animal, tiger. One of the worst consequence of developing roads and highways in a protected forest area such as CTR is habitat fragmentation and modification. Other significant consequences include reduced road safety, both for the people and the animals. However, this problem is not unique to CTR or Indian forests.

This report presents the impact that road development precisely that of national highway NH 121, has on the wildlife of CTR. NH 121 is being focused on because of two reasons: it passes through the Corbett Tiger Reserve, and as observed, it runs parallel to River Kosi. Rivers are a critical component in a forest ecosystem, and animals are known to cross the highway to access the river.

Development of highways can have many other externalities, like boosting the tourism industry that flourishes on the Dhikuli-Dhumakot stretch of NH 121. However, factors such as these could not be verified during this research due to paucity of time.

The report also suggests some well known measures that can reduce the intensity of these impacts, such as implementing Highway Advisory Radio, and constructing underpasses for ensuring safe animal crossings.