Wetlands are of great importance ecologically and economically all over the world. Wetlands are important features in the landscape that provide numerous beneficial services for people and for fish and wildlife. Some of these services, or functions, include protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitats, storing floodwaters and maintaining surface water flow during dry periods. These valuable functions are the result of the unique natural characteristics of wetlands and they also support the livelihood of the communities which directly and indirectly depend on it. Due to such great importance of wetlands in the ecosystem, and during the past century their existence and capability to support wildlife, marine life and humans is in grave danger due to unsustainable human activities such as overfishing, building dams in the source water, dumping industrial pollutants into wetlands etc. Hence, an international convention was formed which is known as the Ramsar Convention is designed to focus on the conservation of wetlands of international importance. Currently, India has 37 Ramsar sites.

Loktak Lake is one of the 37 Ramsar sites in India. Situated in North East of India in the state of Manipur which is the largest freshwater lake in North East and has the world's only floating National Park and is famous for phumdis(heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition) floating over it. Loktak lake is also economically important for the community living in the surrounding villages. Loktak lake is a source of water and livelihood of these communities which is mainly fishing, which is currently in decline due to overfishing, poor quality of water due to construction of dams in the source rivers. Hence there has been an increase in unemployment with the growing population.

One of the ways to protect wetlands from human activities and to generate awareness among the general public is community-based tourism, its type which caters tourism without harming the natural environment and disturbing the habitat and involving communities. The project aims at generating awareness about this Nature’s wonder and at the same time most importantly to uplift the community by bringing in activities which could generate employment which would help in the conservation of the wetland and improve people livelihood.

The project aims to build a structure made with the help of locally available structure materials such as bamboo and hemp. To design and implement participatory measures so that more employment opportunities will be available for the local people and also a policy to conserve nature, built and cultural heritage, especially the ecosystems of the locality. To properly maintain the place in terms of health, sanitation, and hygiene and improve communication services with better network and internet connection; improve transportation facilities. To provide additional facilities like photography, Open theatre, cultural programs, traditional dress and articles, boating competition, etc. The design brief focuses on the needs of communities and for more opportunities among the youths.

Community-based tourism will generate opportunities for employment in the service sector for both skilled and unskilled and improves the living standard of the people living in and around Thanga at Loktak Lake. Although the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) is actively involved in managing the ecological status of the lake, community participation is needed to prevent further degradation of the lake which would have a direct impact on the availability and abundance of various bioresources. Tourism is seen as a growth engine and employment generator. The tourism sector has given the local people more opportunities to make their living by engaging with the tourists. The tourism sector plays a vital role in the development of the local communities when greater support is given and is seen as the move to sustainable development which will not just about revenue but also how the local people maintain their lifestyles at the same time.




Thesis Guide - Ar. Shakti Parmar


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