NAGPUR: In a bid to encourage speedy recovery of wildlife population, the state forest department plans to take up meadow development at relocated village sites in national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves.

A strategy to boost meadow and grassland restoration will be planned at a two-day workshop jointly organized by the Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), forest department, and the Satpuda Foundation (SF) with the assistance of Delhi University.

The brainstorming sessions will be held in Melghat on Saturday and Sunday. The workshop will be inaugurated by principal secretary (forests) Praveen Pardeshi and principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) SWH Naqvi.

The wildlife department is working on a voluntary relocation programme and has relocated 9 villages so far from the core area of Melghat, 1 from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), 3 from Navegaon National Park and Totladoh encroachments.
The process to relocate 4 villages in TATR, 1 in Pench and 3 in Tipeshwar is in progress. The plan is to restore grasslands at these relocated sites.

All senior forest officers with the wildlife wing would attend the workshop mainly to understand best scientific practices of meadow development to encourage the indigenous floral species to bring the optimum herbivore population and thereby the tigers, leopards and wild dogs, main predators in these PAs.

CR Babu, an eminent scientist and expert in grassland development in India, will guide the participants. Babu would come with his team including Rakesh Kumar and Pankaj Kumar from school of Environmental Studies of University of Delhi.

The Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE) of Delhi University is working with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) long since on this subject and has done a remarkable job in tiger reserves such as Corbett.

SR Yadav from Kolhapur University, who is also a member of the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB) and environmentalist Pratibha Pande will also guide the participants.

Gajanan Muratkar with Sipna College, Chikhaldara, has been already helping Melghat and Jaikiran Tidke, former head of botany department, Amravati University, who is pro-vice chancellor of Amravati University will present studies.

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