Restoration of social-ecological systems of Tamiraparani Riverscape. Multiple donors including CSR and Government of Tamil Nadu.
River ecological processes are closely intertwined with social systems and any intervention needs to consider these systems holistically. The coupled-complex social-ecological systems (SES) of Tamiraparani riverscape has been divided into meaningful sub-systems to develop a roadmap for restoration.
Restoration and conservation of resources is a continuous process of identifying problems, its drivers and then building restoration models at the local level that can be scaled up and sustained. Hotspots of concerns have been identified for Phase-I of the restoration plan based on the detailed ground survey, engagement with the local communities and support of the ULBs, including village and town panchayats and the Tirunelveli district administration. The models proposed are bottom-up, employing rigorous scientific methods, and are inclusive of key stakeholders ranging from the public and private sector, including policymakers, practitioners, scientists and non-government organisations, as well as citizens’ groups potentially impacted. By actively drawing these various stakeholders into the process, solution space can be innovatively and collectively co-designed, which can be shared and tuned to derive services that are not limited to economic benefits.
In the first phase, we have selected sites based on a whole gamut of concerns that has led to the deterioration of the SES system in the Tamiraparani riverscape. Five pilot sites (Town Municipality – 1, Town Panchayat – 3 and Village Panchayat – 1) have been designated for establishing a network of Social-Ecological Observatories in the Tamiraparani riverscape.
This pioneering effort of restoring the river health is based on leveraging the social capital and sound scientific principles for monitoring and assessing the current state of:
· Hydrology and water chemistry of the river water.
· Riparian vegetation including native and invasive species.
· Associated aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity.
· Well-being of stakeholders linked to ecosystem services