Gudalur’s Gene Pool Garden is an example of participatory forest management

SourceDown To Earth

Relevance: The success of Gene Pool Garden highlights the need for Participatory forest management.


The Gene Pool Garden was established in 1989 under the Hill Area Development Programme at the Gudalur forest division in Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu.

About the Gene pool garden:
  • It is located in the Western Ghats, one of the 25 biological diversity hotspots of the world.
  • The Gene Pool Garden was created with the following objectives:
    • In situ conservation of available endemic plant species;
    • Ex-situ conservation of rare, endangered, and threatened plant species;
    • Reintroduction and recovery of endangered plant species;
    • Propagation of fast disappearing plant species and education, research, and awareness.
  • The plant species collected from various parts had been assembled under different zones for easy identification. These included thalophytes, hydrophytes, etc.
  • The forest department is also managing the center through the Eco-Development Committee (EDC) formed with the involvement of the local Paniya tribal community.
    • The tribal community has been made in charge of the cafeteria and other shops. Thus, the indigenous community will be benefited economically through the EDC.

Participatory forest management with the involvement of forest stakeholders is a real success in managing a special project like this.

Advantages of Participatory Forest Management:

The failure on the part of the forest department in managing the plant conservation center through the traditional method was overcome by the joint forest management model. This is a clear indication that forests can no longer be managed through Acts and Rules alone.

Managing natural resources through people’s participation is the right way forward.


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