The Western Ghats is an ecological feature of mesmerizing beauty and a treasure trove of biodiversity. Although the Western Ghats covers less than 6 percent of the land area of India, it houses more than 30 percent of all plant, fish, reptile, amphibian, bird and mammal species found in the country.  4.5 crore people depend directly on the Western Ghats for their livelihood. The rivers that originate from it are the main water source for 24.5 crore people.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supports the implementation of the project “Sustainable Livelihood and Biodiversity Conservation through Multiuse Management of Anchunad and Adjoining Landscape”, with the funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF). The objective of the project is to protect the biodiversity of the High Range Mountain Landscape in the southern Western Ghats in peninsular India. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF) supports the implementation of the project. Haritha Keralam Mission is the special purpose vehicle for implementation of the project in the state. The Kerala State Forests and Wildlife Department has been entrusted the responsibility for carrying out activities in the forested areas

The demarcated mountain landscape is host to a rich diversity of flora, a large part of it being endemic.  The region harbours over 200 endemic plants, of which about 100 species are placed under various RET (Rare, Endangered and Threatened) categories by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The endemic shrub Strobilanthes kunthianus (Neelakkurinji), which flowers once every 12 years and enchantingly carpets the entire mountain landscape of Eravikulam National Park and nearby areas with mauve blossoms, is widely known. Rare medicinal plants of economic potential are found in the region, particularly along the drier tract of Marayoor-Chinnar. The mountain landscape is also home to diverse fauna. Some, like the Nilgiri Tahr, Indian Elephant and Tiger are of conservational significance. Great Indian Hornbill, Black and Rufous flycatcher are the noteworthy avian inhabitants.

The High Ranges extend over an area of 600,000 ha. But the area of direct focus of this project is around 259,878 ha. 265 species of butterflies, 72 species of fish, 79 species of mammals, 122 species of reptiles, 50 species of amphibians and 111 species of Odonata have been reported from the project landscape.

The project seeks to demonstrate how biodiversity concerns can become an integral part of planning and implementation of local development activities by ensuring ownership of local communities and local governments, mainstreaming biodiversity concerns in local planning and implementation, and convergence of resources.

Project Overview

Project Period : 2018 – 2022
Implementation Mechanism : The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF) supports the implementation of the project. Haritha Keralam Mission is the special purpose vehicle for implementation of the project in the state. The Kerala State Forests and Wildlife Department has been entrusted the responsibility for carrying out activities in the forested areas.

Other Partners : Local Self Government institutions, Relevant line departments, Civil society organisations, Research institutes
Proposed Landscape : The project landscape is divided into four clusters comprising of 11 Grama Panchayaths.
The clusters are :

  • Munnar Cluster : Chinnakanal, Munnar, Devikulam
  • Anchunad Cluster : Vattavada, Kanthalloor, Marayoor
  • Kuttampuzha Cluster : Mankulam, Adimali, Kuttampuzha, Athirappilly
  • Edamalakkudy Cluster : Edamalakkudy
2,068.27 sq. km
11 Panchayaths in 4 Blocks
Tribal hamlets
Protected areas
6 (25,320 ha)
79,300 ha


  • Strengthened capacities for community-based sustainable use and management of natural resources
  • Application of multiple use landscape management to secure the ecological integrity of high-range landscape
  • Commonly accepted governance framework for multiple-use high range landscape management evolved




Grama Panchayaths

  • Marayoor
  • Kanthalloor
  • Vattavada

Focus Areas

  • Sustainable vegetable farming during cool seasons
  • Promotion of homestead-based agroforestry for livelihood
  • Protection of traditional seed varieties and wild allies of cultivated crops and conservation of traditional knowledge on resources
  • Putting in place a decentralized Waste Management system and ensuring door to door collection through Haritha Karma Sena (Kudumbashree Self Help Groups)

Intended Biodiversity Benefits

  • Shifting to organic cultivation will improve habitat quality and ease the stress on biodiversity
  • Conservation of traditional seed varieties and wild allies of crops will improve agrobiodiversity and genetic stock of crops
  • Homestead-based agroforestry will lessen the pressure on natural habitats and also enhance conservation


Grama Panchayaths

  • Munnar
  • Devikulam
  • Chinnakanal

Focus Areas

  • Adopting sustainable cultivation and processing practices by plantations, primarily tea plantations
  • Converting exploitative model of tourism into more eco-friendly and high-value tourism to reduce impact on nature
  • Adapting better solid waste management and sanitation practices to reduce harmful effects on water and soil

Intended Biodiversity Benefits

  • Mainstreaming of ecology and biodiversity considerations in plantations management and tourism operation
  • Evolving sustainable management models for plantations, with focus on ecologically compatible operations and biodiversity conservation
  • Evolving responsible tourism models with focus on biodiversity concerns and considerations
  • Through effective solid and liquid waste management, natural resources are protected and conserved by preventing solid and liquid waste reaching forest land and waterbodies


Grama Panchayaths

  • Mankulam
  • Adimali
  • Kuttampuzha
  • Athirapilly

Focus Areas

  • Reed-based sustainable livelihoods
  • Carbon Neutral initiatives in Mankulam Panchayath
  • Responsible Tourism initiatives
  • Agroforestry models for conserving the biodiversity

Intended Biodiversity Benefits

  • Extension of organic cultivation will sustain habitat quality and biodiversity
  • Organized development of agroforestry will enhance resource availability and ensure conservation of biodiversity
  • Interventions will lead to responsible tourism development with focus on biodiversity conservation
  • Sustainable management and optimal extraction of reeds are ecologically rewarding


Grama Panchayaths

  • Edamalakudy

Focus Areas

  • Conservation of forest resources through sustainable harvest/extraction practices
  • Initiatiation of value chain interventions for enabling access to premium markets for products
  • Regeneration of degraded forest resources

Intended Biodiversity Benefits

  • Sustainable harvesting of NTFPs will ensure resource availability and biodiversity conservation
  • Interventions will conserve landraces and wild resources of cultivated crops
  • Evolve a sustainable development model for a Panchayath situated within forested mountain landscape



The primary focus of the project is on developing demonstration models in biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihood promotion. The models developed through this project intend to have a long-term impact on the community through tie-ups with the local self-government institutions, forest department, line departments, civil society organisations etc. The broader vision is to contribute towards the sustainable development goals and improve the capabilities of the stakeholders in framing and execution of similar projects. Successful models can be replicated in similar landscapes. Successful practices can also be adopted as part of government schemes and programmes to have a wider reach in the long term. Reclaiming the High Range Mountain Landscape while retaining livelihoods is a critical step towards a sustainable future.


Capacity building programme for LSGs on green plan preparation

You are donating to : Greennature Foundation

How much would you like to donate?
$10 $20 $30
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note