At Nokia we realise that reducing our own environmental impact is only half the battle. With our technology and resources, there is so much that we can do to help the planet. To strengthen our commitment to resolving environmental issues, we now support many bio-diversity conservation programs.
River Watch program in Harike Wetland
In 2010, Nokia collaborated with WWF India and the Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation of Punjab to initiate the ‘River Watch Project.’ The purpose of the project was to record the numerous species that reside across various stretches across Punjab. The constant infrastructural encroachment and pollution are but a few of the numerous daunting challenges that face the biodiversity of the rivers and the region and thus proved a worthy reason for the project’s undertaking. Since its inception in 2010, the ‘River Watch Project’ has recorded 12 mammal, 198 bird, 25 reptile and 16 fish species across Punjab. Besides focusing solely on research, the project integrates the local community in its work, creating Self Help Groups, as well as conducting workshops to motivate women from the local community to adopt handicraft creation as an alternative source of livelihood. The project has also allowed the implementation of sustainable local policies and practices near the Harike Wetland, such as the use of bio-fertilizers, to help reduce habitat degradation as well as pollution levels. School awareness programs on water management issues have been conducted throughout the Harike Wetland, encouraging schools to conduct cultural performances, art competitions, story telling sessions as well as involving students in the process of water quality testing.
Tiger conservation program in the Corbett landscape
In 2010, Nokia partnered with WWF India to conduct a three year conservation program in the Corbett landscape. The objective of the conservation program is to institutionalize the capacity building and development of the frontline staff and officials of the Uttarakhand Forest Department by strengthening existing training mechanisms as well as the infrastructure for wildlife protection and enforcement in the Corbett landscape.
The tiger population in the Corbett region is constantly threatened by corridor degradation, a surge in the tourist population, poaching, the development of infrastructure and urban encroachment. Since the program’s inception, consultation workshops with senior forest officials and front line staff of the forest staff have been conducted, followed by a round of training workshops on Wildlife Laws. These training workshops were conducted in training centres in Rampur Mandi, Kalagarh and Haldwani, in Uttarakhand. With the help of numerous inputs, a six day training module focused on Crime Prevention & Law Enforcement and Wildlife Conservation was developed and subsequently submitted to the Forest Department. We now support the Department in conducting and institutionalising workshops and trainings.
Conservation Program in the Southern Western Ghats
Nokia partnered with WWF India for a 3 year conservation program in the Southern Western Ghats. The program, completed in 2011, aimed at creating structures for protection of the Nilgiri Tahr, mitigation of human-elephant conflict, and building of community capacity for sustainable livelihoods and conservation. The program ensured a long-term ecological security of this landscape based on multi-stakeholder participation and inter-sectoral coordination. The program had these components.
Protection of Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius): A comprehensive study in the hills of Tamil Nadu and Kerala was initiated in January, 2008 to understand the occurrence, population status, habitat connectivity and threat assessment of Nilgiri Tahr, an endemic species of South Western Ghat. The study identified the most reliable population size for the species till date. Additionally, 17 completely new smaller populations of Nilgiri Tahr were identified. A conservation alliance for Tarh was also established with support from local NGOs and Wildlife Association of Rajapalayam (WAR) to work towards future monitoring and conservation of the Nilgiri Tahr in Rajapalayam area.
Developing Sustainable Livelihoods: The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is constantly threatened by deforestation due to the dependence of the indigenous population on fuel wood. Local tribes use the fuel wood to distill lemon grass, which is a very important economic resource in he region. In order to curb the local dependency on fuel wood, a modified pilot distillation unit was installed in the village of Thayanakudi in 2009. In 2011, two more distillation units were installed in Irutalakudi and Eachampatti. The installation of these distillation units has subsequently resulted in the reduction in the consumption of fuel wood by 40%. Above and beyond the distillation units, awareness programs, trainings and workshops were conducted for the local communities to educate and enable them to use alternative sources of energy.
Sustainable use of Natural resources: The Nokia-WWF India partnership has seen itself work across many regions in the country. One such project in the Kadar Community of Kerala was established to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and reduce the dependency of local communities on forest products. The project involved the installation of a honey processing unit to support the Kadar community of the Vazhachal forest division, in Kerala as well as the conduction of numerous capacity building workshops based on sustainable honey collection, processing and value addition for the local communtiy. The initiative benefitted 314 Kadar community families in Kerala.
Mitigating the Human-Elephant conflict in Anayirangal: The region of Anayitangal area of the Munnar division of Kerala has witnessed an increase in the number of Human-Elephant encounters in the region. These confrontations have been due to the loss and fragmentation of habitat thus blocking off the normal migration corridors of the indigenous species. In order address the issue, extensive studies were conducted, collecting data regarding behavioral patterns of the elephants. Through this, three prominent migration routes taken by the elephants were identified. These particular routes faced human intrusion, and experienced many conflicts between both human societies and elephant herds. Prior to the location of the settlements, the elephants moved unhindered and free of intrusions by humans through these routes.
Today, WWF India provides supports the efforts of the Forest Department and the local communities, helping them implement mitigation measures such as training in the maintenance of electric fences, patrolling, using fire crackers and spotlights etc.
Connecting People and Ecosystems in the Indian Himalayas
Nokia partnered with IUCN for a project in the Balkila watershed, Uttarakhand. The focus of the initiative was to demonstrate the traditional and innovative practices which could enhance livelihoods, as well as spread awareness and enable better water resource management, facilitate communities to be more resilient to climate change, and finally restore the ecosystem of the region.
The Himalayan ecosystem in constantly threatened by increasing rates of development as well as changes in the land use of the region. With an ever increasing rate of consumption of Earth’s natural resources, it is important to introduce more sustainable practices and improve the resilience of communities and ecosystems alike. The project aims to rehabilitate spring and water mills in the region, and help develop nurseries for indigenous floral species. In addition, the project also aims to introduce better water management practices by exploring avenues within ecosystem restoration. Finally, capacity building programs to improve watershed management and development and effective community planning to improve local governance and awareness have been vital components.