1. Biodiversity Parks

Biodiversity Parks are unique landscapes in urban and rural areas, that serve as nature reserves and harbour a vast variety of native plants, animals and microbial species rendering ecological services to the region.

Specific guidelines:
  • The biodiversity park should have owned/ governed/ managed by a local body.

  • Biodiversity Parks existing outside forest areas mapped by FSI or PAs (National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Reserved forests, etc.) qualify as OECMs.

  • The biodiversity park should serve as sites for ecosystem restoration and should not have a pre-dominance of exotic species.

  • The biodiversity park should have been managed for long duration for delivering effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity.

Potential OECMs

2. Industrial estates for conservation purposes

Green belts are areas where vegetation is maintained to function as pollutant sinks, and provide other benefits like aesthetic improvement and providing possible habitats for birds and animals, thus recreating hospitable nature in an otherwise drab Urban-Industrial scene.

Specific guidelines:
  • The site should be privately owned/ leased Industrial estates.

  • Industrial estates located outside forest areas mapped by FSI can only qualify as OECMs.

  • The area should be substantial to support habitat conservation of any major species (e.g. native species, Rare, Endangered and Threatened Species, etc.), as per approved conservation plan.

  • Comprehensive Environmental management plan should exist for management of operations and activities, and also covering biodiversity management.

Potential OECMs

3.Village commons /lands

Village Commons/ lands are natural and/or modified ecosystems containing significant biodiversity values, ecological services and cultural values, are conserved by local communities, both sedentary and mobile, through customary laws or other effective means.

Specific guidelines:
  • Forested community lands cannot not qualify as OECMs as forested areas outside of private ownership are considered state owned, and therefore, documented in the WDPA as PAs.

  • Village areas clearly demarcated and governed by traditional laws and regulations including long term sustenance of biodiversity. Often unwritten long term in-situ conservation values will be determined by the extent of the area under each village, sustenance use could be done from these areas.

Potential OECMs

4. Important Bird Area and Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas

The IBAs serve as conservation areas for protection of birds at the global, regional or sub-regional level. According to Birdlife International, designation of IBAs is based on standardized criteria, namely

  • Hold significant numbers of one or more globally threatened bird species,

  • Be one of a set of sites that together hold a suite of restricted-range species or biome-restricted species

  • Have exceptionally large numbers of migratory or congregation birds.

The IBAs contain a range of habitats, such as wetlands, mudflats, microhabitats in biodiversity hotspots, grasslands, scrublands and forests making them excellent indicators of biodiversity richness (India’s 5th National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2014). To define Important Bird Areas, global standards and guidelines needs to be followed.

Specific guidelines:
  • IBBAs existing outside forest areas mapped by FSI or PAs (National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Reserved forests, etc.) can only qualify as OECMs.

Potential OECMs

5.Urban Trees and Forests (UTF)/ Urban Greens/ City Forest, Urban/ City Gardens

Networks or systems comprising all woodlands, groups of trees and individual trees located in urban and peri-urban areas outside forest areas. These include trees outside the forest, forests, street trees, trees in parks and gardens, and trees in derelict corners. They provide economic, environmental and sociocultural benefits.

Specific guidelines:
  • Urban Trees and Forests (UTF)/ Urban Greens/ City Forest, Urban/ City Gardens located outside forest areas mapped by FSI can only qualify as OECMs.

  • Area should be substantial to support habitat conservation of native species, as per approved management plan.

6.Unique Agricultural Systems (UAS)

Unique Agricultural Systems (UAS) can be defined as unique land use systems and landscapes which are rich in globally significant biological diversity evolving from the co-adaptation of communities with its environment and needs, resulting in food and livelihood security and sustainable development of the region.
The system should support a rich agro-biodiversity and genetic resources for food and agriculture (e.g. endemic, domesticated, rare, endangered species of crops and animals) and not harbour invasive species. UAS should not have intensive agriculture activities.

Specific guidelines:
  • UAS should not have land-use changes over a period of time.

  • UAS should have evolved over generations through the integration of food production, environment protection and culture.

  • Established MoUs with communities to ensure no land-use change and commercial crop cultivation for a long time period.

  • The UAS should include only those sites that are not designated as Biodiversity Heritage sites under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002

Potential OECMs

7.Individual Green Lands

Individual green lands refer to those areas which are not the property of the Government or over which the Government has no proprietary rights. The land rights of individual green lands are owned by individual. The area is offered protection from exploitative activities like hunting, logging, etc.

Specific guidelines:
  • Area should be owned and managed by private individuals

  • Individual green lands that do not fall under, lie adjacent to or is contiguous with Protected areas such as National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, etc., or forest areas mapped by FSI can only qualify as OECMs

  • Since, there is no legal restrictions, an alternate mechanism for long term sustenance of biodiversity should be ensured.

  • The area should be managed as per management plan with the primary objective of biodiversity conservation

Potential OECMs