February 06, 2008
Herbs from Forests
Converting traditional medicinal knowledge into fortunes—this is what a group of women in a remote village in Chhattisgarh are doing. In the sleepy village of Donga-nala in Korba district, about 160 km from the state capital, Raipur, these women run a unit
for making medicines from herbs from surrounding forests.
In just a year, they have earned Rs 15 lakh. From being impoverished agricultural labourers, they have become prosperous entrepreneurs.
After sussing out demand, the group started preparing 30 products, of which medicines for cold, diabetes, joint pains and indigestion, and herbal products such as tea, facepacks, toothpaste, honey and chyawanprash are much in demand. “The compositions are
certified by a registered ayurvedic practitioner and approved by a government lab,” says Patel. The group’s yagna products are also in demand—selling up to 1,100 kg a month, fetching about Rs 75,000. “We are self-sufficient now,” says Uma Yadav, secretary
of the Self Help Group.
Read the full story at
October 01, 2007
The natural tree holes are diminishing in the open countryside due to an increase in tree felling. Urban habitats provide alternate nesting sites.
A study published in the Journal of Raptor Research documented the case of Pune where nests were diminishing in rural areas and increasing in human habitats.
Another species is now dependant on the tolerance of human beings for survival!
January 31, 2007
Sustainable management of natural resources at grass roots-Foundation for Ecological Security
Many of the human activities that modify or destroy natural ecosystems cause deterioration of ecological services whose value, in the long run, far outweigh the short term economic benefits that human society seeks to gain. As ecosystems remain at great
jeopardy so do the livelihoods and continued well being of communities everywhere. Poor communities are particularly vulnerable since they rely more on natural resources for subsistence and income and are less likely to share in property rights that give them
legal control over these resources.
In this context, FES promotes the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, forests and water in particular, through local self governance institutions.The crux of their efforts lie in locating forests and other natural resources within
the prevailing economic, social and ecological demands at the level of villages and village conglomerates and in intertwining principles of conservation and local self governance for the safeguard of the natural surroundings and improvement in the living conditions
of the poor.
They aim to integrate forests in the overall land use planning by highlighting the critical role that forests play in terms of sustaining agriculture, animal husbandry and rural livelihoods in general, and also position community based forest governance
in the larger unfolding of decentralisation of governance in India.
November 13, 2006
"Across the world, a new paradigm of conservation is spreading, one in which responsibility for wildlife protection and benefits of forests are shared with communities. Two trends have emerged collaborative managed protected areas (CMPAs), in which governments
and communities jointly manage conservation, and community conserved areas (CCAs), in which the predominant role is that of local people.
In South America, over a fifth of the Amazon forests are now under indigenous protected areas, while in Canada, such areas cover seven million hectares. In Australia, huge territories have been given back to aboriginal peoples, and many of these are now
managed for conservation. In South Africa, portions of world-famous areas such as Kruger National Park have been handed back to communities from whom lands had once been snatched away by the apartheid government, but a negotiated deal keeps the area under
conservation land use. Across many European countries, complex arrangements between governments, local councils, and other local bodies are managing hundreds of protected landscapes. In Zimbabwe and Namibia, community-managed conservancies protect the continent's
biggest fauna, with ecotourism benefits going to local people.
In Nepal, one of the subcontinent's biggest protected areas, Annapurna, became a CMPA when its management was entrusted to a NGO and local communities in the 1990s. Over its 7,000-plus sq km, wildlife populations have increased as have livelihood and revenue
benefits to local people living inside the area.
Not all initiatives towards participatory conser-vation are successful. However, many government-managed protected areas too are prone to failures see what happened in the infamous Sariska Tiger Reserve. If one looks at the enormous social costs of the conventional
model of conservation, including the displacement and dispossession of millions of people, it is surely time we did what the Nepal government started doing with Annapurna, and continued with Kangchenjunga.
A strategy of joint or community-based management, with appropriate inputs to help build capacity and tackle threats, would do much more to conserve wildlife.
Even where zoning to maintain inviolate areas for wildlife is necessary, it will work more effectively if done with local people. "
Document Reference: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-347725
October 30, 2006
This village has no electricity, no transport or even the basic medical facilities.
“People here either depend on wood smuggling or prawn seed collection for livelihood.
The first encroaches into tiger territory, while the second completely disrupts the ecological balance of the area, because the salinity of the waters is affected due to excessive prawn seed poaching” says Kakoli Banejee, assistant coordinator of the
Sunderbans landscaping project, WWF.
WWF have also provided the village with tillers, solar-powered spice grinding machines,
deep tube wells and medicinal plant gardens for sustenance.
Children have formed nature clubs and teach the parents the importance of saving the tiger.
There are countless villages close to national parks, who need these facilities for creating an alternative income source far from exploiting the forests.
A case in pont would be Kailashpuri, near Ranthambore National Park.
Our short film “Living With the Park” gives voice to the problems faced by displaced villages.
You can read a synopsis of the film at http://www.wildscapes.net/cd_synopsis.aspx
( Details of Chhoto Mollakhali from
India Today dated 6 November 2006)
September 10, 2006
Community based conservation-Uttaranchal
A Van Panvhayat ( Village Forest Council) near the trijunction of India, Nepal and Tibet, called 'Sarmoli-Jainti' has shown what the initiative of a dedicated leader can achieve in a remote village.
'A self-initiated effort by the Van Panchyat to conserve the great diversity of Galliformes within the village forest and the adjoining reserve forest began in 2004. The village forest has about 34 hectares for a population of over 300 households. An underlying
objective is to attract wilderness bound tourists, which should bring enhanced income to the community through non-extractive uses, like employment as trekking and nature guides and through a home-stay programme run by the Van Panchayat. Conservation of the
habitat would also result in more stable water supply to the villagers through the springs charged within the village forest and the adjoining forest area.'
With the support of World Pheasant Association-WPA (India), the Panchayat has
1. Set up a Nature Interpretation Centre at Sarmoli Village
2. Undertaken and completed a rigorous field survey of pheasants and partridges of the area
3. Identified and quantified human disturbance factors in the area.
This extract is courtesy "Mor" quarterly of WPA (India)
Malika Virdi, the Sarpanch of Sarmoli can be contacted on email
August 23, 2006
I found this post in an MSN group and thought that it is worth sharing.
"I, too, have set out in the world determined to help the plight of endangered species. But there is little sense in attempting to save a species if you can not first save the habitat which that species depends on for survival. And you will have no chance
of saving the habitat unless you can do something to alleviate the financial pressures of the local peoples who must rely on depleting natural resources in order to survive.
It is quite easy as North American and European arm-chair activists to play the blame-game and point the finger at poachers and subsistance farmers clearing forests. We in the developed world have already wiped out half of our forests and the species that
lived there. Now we think we know what's best for the resource management of the rest of these "third-world" nations. And, true, there are so many complex issues facing this problem.
Most of the decline in wildlife populations directly attributed to habitat fragmentation. Most of the rainforest degradation in the world results from the need of local peoples to push further into forests to clear land in order to grow crops. However, this
is a direct result of those people being displaced from their lands by large multinational agriculture industries who are focused on growing export crops or grazing cattle. This leaves the people, who once utilized their land much more sustainably and were
able to consume the crops they grew, in a state of poverty and malnutrition.
Set aside vast tracts of wilderness as National Parks, and as commendable as that is, it too denies local people the resources they need to survive, leading to illegal deforestation and poaching. Poachers, miners, and slash & burn farmers are not evil people
with the intentions of wiping out biodiversity or environmental destruction. They are simply trying to provide the best life possible for their families. How can those of us in the industrialized world, with our air conditioned cars, satelite TV, iPods and
white picket fences realistically blame them for striving for more? To those struggling for daily necessities like food, clean water and medicine, wildlife survival and habitat conservation generally takes a backseat.
I believe it is going to take a massive shift in the lifestyles of we in the developed world if there is to even be a hope for a biodiverse, healthy Earth in the future. This will include financially taking responsibility to save these places, as well as
a change in our own energy and food consumption habits, and eliminating the market for exotic species. This all starts right at home, with each of us contributing our own small part to a greater whole. The problem is, most people, especially in the USA, have
the attitude "If it's not affecting me directly, then I don't really care."
Unfortunately, by the time the problem is big enough to be directly affecting people in places like the USA (as it's already beginning with things like global warming), it may be too late to do anything about it."
M/41 GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND
January 24, 2006
On December1, 2005 the Union Cabinet gave its approval to the revised Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill.
One of the major changes in the final Bill is that the ambiguity in cut off date for determining tribal rights over land has been removed and October 25, 1980, has been made the cut-off date.
The second major change pertains to rights of tribals in national parks and sanctuaries. Tribal inhabitants would be given provisional
pattas with a clear caveat that they could be relocated. "They would have right to acreage but not to land."
The third deviation is that forest officials would be involved at every stage in the process of granting land rights to tribals. Non-tribal forest dwellers will be settled according to the settlement rules of the environment and forests ministry.
There is no change in the long list of forest rights given to tribals as well as the provision that the right conferred shall be heritable but not alienable or transferable. Similarly, there is no change as far as duties -most concerning conservation of
flora and fauna-of the holder of forest rights are concerned.
November 11, 2005
There are traditional practices such as sacred tanks and sacred groves, institutions such as Van Panchayats as well as new initiatives such as joint forest management (JFM).
A lot of community based conservation happens on Government lands such as reserve forests, wetlands, and coasts. A good example is the efforts of villagers in Alwar district in protecting the catchment forests of Arvari river, most of which are on
Once this area is declared as a Conservation Reserve, several Government Agencies will take over the conservation work. A government –people participation approach rather than amending laws and coining new terms seems to be the need of the hour.
August 05, 2005
The Tiger Task Force has submitted its report. The report brings out some glaring facts.
"In the last 30 years, only 80-odd villages have been relocated from all 28 reserves. There are another 1,500 existing inside, of which 250 are within core areas of tiger reserves, which must be relocated. Relocating them will cost Rs 660 crore at the minimum,
in terms of the meager relocation package government works with today, and without accounting for land costs. If this is taken into account, then the estimated cost is Rs 11,000 crore.
What is suggested is a time-bound programme to identify those villages that must be relocated because of they are located inside crucial tiger habitats. It is also suggested that, unlike the past, this relocation must be done speedily and sensitively, with
careful consideration of the needs of people."
The chair person also says that if we do not make peace with the communities who share the tigers’ home, we will lose the war of conservation tiger by tiger. Identifying the cause for a crisis situation is certainly the first step towards a solution.
Let us think solutions now! How can we have the communities become stakeholders in tourism for example? Any suggestions?