IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3 report on Western Ghats

The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3 was published recently. The report highlighted whether the conservation of the world’s 252 natural world heritage sites including the Western Ghats is sufficient to project them in long run or not.

What is the issue?

The iconic Western Ghats has been tagged as a natural world heritage site by UNESCO in 2012. The report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) highlights that this heritage site of southern India is threatened by population pressure, urbanisation and climate change.

Key Highlights of the report

  • The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3 is builds on previous reports from 2014 and 2017.
  • The report states that the conservation outlook of the mountain chain in the Western Ghats is of significant concern.
  • The report further says, the state of values in the Western Ghats was considered as good at time of inscription. The state still remains so. However, there exists some concern regarding outside threats.
  • The report also highlights that, the fragmentation caused because of the development pressure such as construction of roads, broadening of existing roads etc. in the Western Ghats is shrinking the availability of the wildlife corridors and other habitat outside the protected areas.
  • Urbanisation, agricultural expansion, livestock grazing and forest fragmentation also pose treats to the species and habitats of the Western Ghats as per the report.
  • Climate change will also exacerbate the system and has the potential to impact the large- scale monsoonal processes. This would impact the western Ghats on a large scale.

What does significant concern mean?

When a site’s conservation outlook is of significant concern, then the values of the sites are considered to be threatened by a number of current. This requires for a potential threats with significant additional conservation measures in order to preserve these values in the medium and long term.