Nammal Namukkāyi

Rebuild Kerala Initiative

Changes needed in Forest area to build a viable kerala

Forest Management

In Kerala, with 27.83% land classified as forests, it serves as the biggest natural asset available with the State. It can be considered as the supply cell to all the ecosystem services offered by nature in the state. Out of the total of 11,524.41sq. km., of forest area, 9339.18 are reserve forests, 1,900.98 sq. km. are vested forests and ecologically fragile lands, and 284.21 sq. km. are proposed reserve forests.

In Kerala, at present, 3,213.24 sq. km.of forest area includes five national parks, two tiger reserves, two bird sanctuaries, one peafowl sanctuary, and one community reserve, and they are under Protected Area Network.

Forests in the State serve as one of the biggest natural resource pools, livelihood provider, and biodiversity hubs. Therefore, building resilience and sustaining the forests should be a comprehensive and continuous exercise, in which both the community and government actively participate as key decision-makers and executors.

Over the decades, forest cover in Kerala has come down significantly. Encroachment in the restricted forest areas has led to increased exposure of landslides and other ecological disasters. There is a need to preserve and protect the forest land with a special focus on identifying forest areas that are vulnerable and have special attributes that make them particularly valuable for biodiversity and/or tribal population living in that area.

Resilient rebuilding efforts require designing and effectively implementing appropriate management options for these areas to preserve and enhance the key ecological or socio-economic value. Forests of the State possess key attributes such as -

  • Biodiversity hotspots
  • Inclusion of rare threatened or endangered ecosystems
  • Provision of basic ecological services such as watershed protection, erosion control
  • Livelihood support to local communities critical to local communities' traditional cultural identity

These attributes put forests as an ecosystem at a much higher value, and highlight the importance of their thoughtful management with a strong emphasis on their preservation and conservation.

Here are the questions that communities could answer in the context of forest conservation -

  1. How are you affected by invasive plant species in the forest?
  2. How can the threat to biodiversity from invasive plant species be addressed in the forest?
  3. How can the man-animal conflict be sustainably resolved?
  4. How can the participation of the community living in the vicinity of the forest areas be increased for greater co-operation?
  5. What role can the tribal and other communities in the forest area play in building resilience towards disasters?
  6. What measures can be taken by the local government to ensure the reduction in the encroachment of forest land?
  7. What role can community play to support local government in monitoring forest land encroachment due to agriculture, plantations, dams, roads and illegal mining resulting in the reduced water-holding capacity of the catchments, drying up the rivers and groundwater sources, among other problems?
  8. How can the community be encouraged to build and protect new forest patches around the existing forests or in the already deforested zones as a measure to increase their resilience and reduce their ecological footprint?

Chief Executive Officer,
Rebuild Kerala Initiative,
1 A,
Calsar Heather Tower,
Opp Hilton Tower Hotel,
Punnen Road,Statue,
Trivandrum 695001


Office: 0471 2517276