Research Update from Kaziranga National Park- A World Heritage Site
Dhritiman Das, ATREE, dhritiman.das(at)atree.org
Kaziranga National Park (KNP)-A World Heritage Site is situated in the floodplain of the Brahmaputra River in Assam. Ecology of this Park is largely governed by hydrological regime of the Brahmaputra River. KNP’s vegetation is maintained not only by the unique hydrological characteristics of the floodplain of the river, but also by grassland management practices using seasonal burning by park authorities. KNP is unique in the sub-Himalayan grassland region in terms of having the full complement of large grazing ungulates. It is also the perfect place to test for grazing compensation and facilitation in an important grazing system outside of Africa. As part of the UNESCO World Heritage Biodiversity Project, Ashoka Trust for Research in ecology and Environment (ATREE) and KNP management has initiated a research framework to study the effect of grazing on species composition and plant biomass production in Bahubeel-Borbeel area of Kaziranga National Park and developing a restoration model for overgrazed grasslands in KNP. For this purpose three exclosure complexes were raised and initial data were taken. The proposed study is first of its kind and it will inform managers about the impacts, effectiveness, and validity of management practices so they can effectively conserve the biodiversity of the KNP.
Dhritiman Das is a doctoral student in Conservation Science with the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India. His primary research interests are in ecosystem ecology and interdisciplinary approach to biodiversity conservation. He is currently involved in habitat and wildlife research in Manas and Kaziranga National Parks under the aegis of UNESCO’s World Heritage Biodiversity Programme for India. He represented Manas World Heritage Site at the International Youth Forum during the 10th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD-COP 10) held at Nagoya, Japan in October 2010.