Indigenous and community conservation area -conservation of biodiversity and strengthening ecological service

June 12, 2017

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India

Indigenous and community conservation area -conservation of biodiversity and strengthening ecological service

About the Implementing organization

Name: S.Tusom Village

Country: India

Year of establishment: 2001

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Indigenous group or organization

Description

Traditionally the village community being forest dependent used to live on shifting cultivation and hunting. All the forest area used to be cleared for cultivation in turn with 12-15 years cycle. Nagas are generally aggressive meat eaters and hunting used to be free and part of a tribal life and culture.Conserving a large patch of forest means reducing their cultivation area and shifting cycle affecting the overall production and livelihood. With the growth of population there was demand for more and more areas of forest to be cleared for shifting cultivation. It was a bold decision for the village authority to defy traditional practice of using forest for shifting cultivation and free hunting and decided to conserve about 500 ha of forest and stop hunting in that forest. Besides prohibiting hunting and thus protecting wild animals,Youths and women groups have taken special interest to create orchid park by propagating them in the ICCA. As such tourists, researchers, development workers started visiting the area to learn from the innovation.

Nature Element

Forests / Rivers / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Health / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

        

Environmental Impacts

Villagers are observing an increase in wildlife population such as deer, monkey, wild boar, stag, barking deer, porcupine, pangolin, wild cat and different species of birds around the village forest. These animals were almost depleting from the surrounding forest in the recent past due to degradation of habitat and aggressive hunting. Now they can find them around the village as the ICCA is close to the village. The system has not been developed among the people here to count the animals. However, to be able to spot animals in the ICCA speaks volume of improvement in conservation and protection of wild animals as it has been a rear sight to spot wild animals in the forest of the district due to habitat loss and aggressive hunting.

Different species of wild orchids are being protected in the ICCA. Protection of this forest has led to improving the moisture content of soil which in turn has led to improvement in the production of orchard and homestead garden around the village compound.

Sustainable Development Impacts

1.Sharing away a large patch of forest as wildlife protection area has reduced the area for shifting cultivation which in turn has made villagers opt for orchard and horticulture farming. The improved income from horticultural crops has improved the livelihood of the villagers.

2.The innovation has made villagers diversified their economic activities which helped them to the resilient impact of extreme climate events. This new experience is gradually reducing the shifting cultivation practice as younger generations started seeing the vulnerability of shifting cultivation to extreme climate events and climate change impact. Improved skills on orchard farming, weaving, handicraft, petty business, livestock keeping, bee keeping etc. have provided livelihood security to the community.

3. Improvement in the livelihood of the villagers helped them in improving their participation in social development. Participation of youth and women in development activities have improved in recent years.

Scalability

Protection of large scale of forest patch among the shifting cultivators is a big challenge as it has been a long tradition and main livelihood option. However, the innovation has taught people that we can continue to depend on the forest by developing sustainable management system and practices. Dependency on the forest among forest dwellers can be reduced by adopting diversification of economic activities and developing a sustainable management plan. Developing community-based rules and regulations on biodiversity management can help in conserving forest while at the same time provide livelihood support to the community by sustainably managing the resources. The S.Tusom ICCA experience tells the people that protecting forest and allowing to promote its ecological service gives sustainable benefit to the livelihood of forest dependent communities.Protecting neighbouring forest will provide safe animal corridors as well as improve the watershed function of Making River catchment which falls to Myanmar.

Replicability

Learning from the village the surrounding 3 villages, namely Grihang, Chungka and Ramshophung have already conserved the forest adjoining to S.Tusom village conservation area. S.Tusom village along with these three villages have resolved together to protect the streams and rivers flowing in between these forest areas and decided to strictly prohibit fishing other than the traditional way of fishing to promote breeding of riverine fish. Protecting contagious forest patches would provide corridors and more spacious habitat to wild animals. Rules and regulation on hunting have been developed together.

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