Communities come together to protect wetland
Posted on 25 January 2013
Tikauli Lake is significant in many aspects – it provides important habitat for migratory birds and mugger crocodile, and also serves as a water hole for large mammals including endangered species such as elephant, rhinoceros and tiger.The 12-hectare Tikauli Lake is located in Mrigakunja Buffer Zone Community Forest, Chitwan and is a part of the Bishazari lake system that contains 46 wetlands. Bishazari is a Ramsar site of international significance. Tikauli Lake forms part of Tikauli forest that is an important wildlife corridor, particularly for animals moving between the Siwalik hills range to the Mahabharat mountain range. Tikauli Lake is significant in many aspects – it provides important habitat for migratory birds and mugger crocodile, and also serves as a water hole for large mammals including endangered species such as elephant, rhinoceros and tiger.
Both Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) and Chitwan Annapurna Landscape (CHAL) are endowed with wetland ecosystems of international importance and provide refuge to diverse flora and fauna. However, almost all of these wetlands suffer encroachment from agricultural expansion, invasion of alien plant species, siltation, pollution and unsustainable use of wetland resources. Tikauli Lake is no exception.
The lake is seriously affected by invasive water plants, and the Hariyo Ban Program, WWF Nepal is supporting local communities to manually remove water hyacinth, water lettuce and water cabbage. So far the communities have joined hands and cleaned five hectares of the lake’s surface. This should improve habitat and contribute to Tikauli's restoration, reducing the risk of this important wetland from drying out and enabling it to continue supporting populations of birds and large mammals.
Hariyo Ban proposes to restore major wetlands in core areas of both TAL and CHAL in the coming years through control of invasive alien plant species, and other restoration and management activities. It is working with the National Agricultural Research Council (NARC) of Nepal and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Florida, USA, to introduce biological control for invasive plants such as water hyacinth. Some wetlands with minimum human pressures are also suffering rapid plant succession, low water levels, or early dryness and siltation due to forest floods. These changes may be due to climate change, and Hariyo Ban is working with communities to raise awareness about climate change and its impacts.
For further information:
Communications Officer, Hariyo Ban Program
Disclaimer: The Hariyo Ban Program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the responsibility of WWF and CARE Nepal and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.