Buffer zone safari


What is buffer zone

In this page, we will learn about buffer zones and there importance in wildlife conservation. Whenever any existing reserve forest areas are clubbed and declared as tiger reserve then they were suppose to be managed as per guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). Thus it becomes basic and mandatory duty of tiger reserve management team to do the marking of core zone forest and buffer zone forest. Once it is done, then this core zone forest and buffer zone forest is further divided into sub-zones, for convenience in management. A core zone forest should be undisturbed from commercial and public activities thus usually this forest is central part of tiger reserve and it is surrounded by a protective layer of forest called Buffer zone forest. This layer separates Core zone forest area from outer world and act as a protective shield for wildlife in core forest area. During buffer zones safaris we will notice cattle grazing and sometime notice some resort boundary. This is because it is a mixed land area in which villages and resort activities are allowed in a limited way thus we find them in buffer zone but not in core zones. 

Importance of Buffer zone forest

When we go for jungle safari drives, we see this division from animal sighting point of view and often see that core zone safaris are better so do that and buffer zone safaris are always second option. This given an impression that core zone is important and buffer zone forest is useless and ill managed due to which animal sighting is poor or below average. It is only our mis-perception drawn on the basis of our limited knowledge. In reality success of core zone forest is dependent on the success of buffer zone forest thus buffer layer play more important role and owes more responsibility to protect the core zone and thus plays more important role in overall wildlife conservation. Negative impact of outer world comes directly on buffer zone thus core forest remains portected and untouched. Thus role of buffer zone forest is like the protective packing that prevent our core product from damaging, as we experience in our daily life when Amazone or Flipkart products are delivered to us. Without such protective packaging, our core product will get damaged and become useless for us which will result into failure of who shopping process. Let summarize these points to make it easy to understand and remember:

  1. Facing outer world challenges: Buffer zone forest layer is directly exposed to outer world thus all ill effects are managed here and thus core zone remains undisturbed and protected.
  2. Cushing effect for animals: Undisturbed forest is preference of all kind of animals thus they prefer to live in core zone forest area. Still when population increases or when territorial conflicts took place, animals have to migrage from one area to another. It happens when tigers become old and pushed out of there territory or when sub-adult tigers get separated from mother and have to survive on there own but not powerful enough to make territory for them then they also survive on buffer zones forests areas.
  3. Supports Tiger Conservation: Wild animals prefers to spend there time in undisturbed forest area, away from human infringement thus core forest is ildeal choice for them. Due to good prey-base, tigers also prefers to create there territory in core forest areas. Protective layer of buffer zone increases the distance of tigers territory and outer world thus interaction of tigers from outer world can be minimized. This helps in reducing man-animal conflict and also inreases the distance between poachers and tigers thus very helpful in tiger conservation.
  4. Shelter for tiger cubs: It is often seen that when tigress gives birth to cubs, she become more protective and concerned about the secuity of cubs from other male tigers in that forest. Thus she often migrate away from here routine territory to some undisturbed part of forest where cubs can be grown up safely. In this process buffer forest areas are very helpful for her and thus often we find tigress family presence, for some duration, in buffer forest areas. Thus this forest layer help in growth of tiger population.
  5. Conservation practices: When some wildlife projects are undertaken like new species re-introduction, translocation of some animal, recovery of baby animals get separated from mother or herd, treatment of injured animal etc, we will find that vast enclosured were need to be developed to keep the animals safe and there activities to be monitored  on daily basis. Buffer zone forest areas are often very helpful in doing such conservation practives.
  6. Man-animal inter-dependence practices: We can't construct a wall between forest and outer world. There are many activities in which there interaction is obvious and thus we can't find physical boundaries but an imaginary boundary is assumed and marked. Even today we will find that Indian villages are with cattles and despite of introduction of cooking cylinder, wood is partially used by villagers in there cooking process, villagers often visit forest to collect tree products like some fruits, flowers, leaves etc for local rituals, food items, medicinal reason etc. Similarly certain animal species who prefers to survive at close vicinity to villagers thus they also prefers certain human presence like antelopes, sloth bear, jackals, fox, wolves, many bird species etc. Thus buffer zones offers a controlled environment for thus species to live close to villages in an controlled way and avoids direct exposure to dense human establishment areas.