Restoration of Tamiraparani Social-Ecological System (TamiraSES)

Restoration of Tamiraparani Social-Ecological System (TamiraSES)

Team TamiraSES


Collaborating institutions: ATREE, IIHS, CDD and the Tirunelveli District Administration

Ecological processes are closely linked to social systems and cannot be viewed in isolation. The coupled-complex social-ecological systems of the Tamiraparani riverscape have been divided into social-ecological sub-systems to develop a restoration plan. Hotspots of concern have been identified for Phase I of the restoration plan based on the ground survey, and consensus with the district administration. The models proposed progress bottom-up, combining scientific methods, and  are inclusive of key stakeholders. In the first phase, villages were selected based on the representation of issues along the Tamiraparani riverscape. Five villages (municipality: 1, town panchayat: 3 and village panchayat: 1)  were selected for establishing a network of Social-Ecological Observatories in the Tamiraparani riverscape.  

The effort will link the monitoring of 

  • ∙       hydrology and water chemistry of the river water, 
  • ∙       riparian vegetation including native and invasive species, 
  • ∙       associated aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity,
  • ∙       human well-being of stakeholders linked to ecosystem services and 
  • ∙       the implementation plan for the restoration of the riverscape.

The reference for the restoration implementation plan is being co-built with diverse stakeholders comprising communities, local institutions, self-help groups and district administration through a series of consultations. Protocols of indicators of restoration are being developed for all the above components based on the consensus of all the stakeholders. The draft DPR of the first phase was presented and released on World Rivers Day (25 September 2022) by the Speaker of Tamil Nadu for the feedback of stakeholders. Soon this will be hosted on the Nellai Neervallam website ( for stakeholder feedback.

The restoration targets will be implemented in a phased manner. Each phase will consist of pilots that will serve as exemplars for scaling up in similar subsystems of the larger TamiraSES. Each phase will also give scope to identify other drivers and will help in prioritising targets, as seen in the diagram below. 

Figure: Proposed phases of restoration of Tamiraparani’s Social-Ecological System

Figure: Our map and envisioned Papanasam SEO