Hyderabad: Telangana’s Amrabad Tiger Reserve, which is in the eye of a brewing storm over uranium mining, provides direct and indirect benefits worth at least around Rs 40,000 crore a year to the people and the environment.
The neighbouring Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR), on the right bank of the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh, provides tangible and intangible benefits totalling Rs 66,331.14 crore a year.
According to a study, ‘Economic Evaluation of Tiger Reserves in India: A Value+ Approach’, by Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, in collaboration with National Tiger Conservation Authority, NSTR’s annual return is even more phenomenal at Rs 7,448.6 for every Rupee spent on the reserve.
For Amrabad, on the left bank of the river, the return on investment in terms of ecosystem services delivered by the tiger reserve, per rupee, works out to around Rs 4,900 a year.
“Amrabad Tiger Reserve is ecologically similar to NSTR as both share the same landscape of Nallamala Hills. While the study did not examine the ecosystem services Amrabad provides, its value should be about two thirds of what has been found for NSTR,” Imran Siddiqui, founder of Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HyTICOS), said.
Even if one assumes that Amrabad provides half of what NSTR provides in terms of ecosystem services, it would be worth more than Rs 33,000 crore a year. This works out to Rs 3,724.3 per Rupee spent in Amrabad reserve.
The study examined the value of benefits realised for every Rupee spent in 10 tiger reserves in the country. The lowest return was pegged at Rs 346.7 for Melghat reserve, with NSTR chalking up the highest returns.
Incidentally, till the bifurcation of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, the Rajiv Gandhi Nagarjuna Sagar Tiger Reserve included the present Amrabad Tiger Reserve in Telangana as well as what is now NSTR in Andhra Pradesh.
The study looked at main ecosystem services the reserves provide, which include provisioning of water, purification of air and water, flood protection, soil formation, climate regulation and waste assimilation, among others. The other services that fall in this category are food, fibre, fuel, non-timber forest produce, cultural value and appreciation of nature.