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Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs)

Context: The Supreme Court has directed that every protected forest, national park and wildlife sanctuary should have a mandatory eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of a minimum of one km starting from their demarcated boundaries.

About Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZs): 

  • An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometres around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.
  • Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • ESZs act as “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas. They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection. 
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.

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