Development of a local bio diversity register and incorporationg the same in village development plan
About the Implementing organization
Name: Forest Education Group
Year of establishment: 2005
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Women’s association or organization / Indigenous group or organization / Ethnic minority group or association
The beginning of a bio diversity register development was community effort made in the wake of increasing trend in the depletion of forest resources was visible during the period of 1980s. A number of species used by the local community for food and medicinal purpose were disappeared from the forest. Traditional drinking water source of the area also found drying as an indication of the future drought situation. The action plan mainly involves awareness campaign among the community and subsequent integrated action of the community to protect their ecology and effectively managing the resources in a sustainable manner. The initiative was participatory in nature, and started from the bottom level. The tribal community, to whom agriculture was not the main stream source of livelihood had adopted systematic methods of cultivation patterns with the utilization of organic inputs and indigenous knowledge. The entire focus of the intervention was to achieve self-sustainability in food grain for the tribal families living in the Baigachak region. During 1980, the availability of food grains in these areas was only up to 3 months. Today the community have their food security for 12 months. The food grain production is not only confining in paddy cultivation, a variety of hill millet, uncultivated edible items and seasonal vegetable comprises the production. Apart from this, their forest is now enriched with medicinal plants, bamboos and heaves of honey bees.
Forests / Mountains / Rivers / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Peace and security / Health / Climate action
Nearly 500 acres of forest land in the region is now well conserved by the community. The nearby river, the lifeline is now flowing round the year. The vegetation on the banks of the river and its upstream is coming under the protected parts of the forest. A number of rare medicinal plants, earlier found as facing threat of extinction is now increased. The scientific method for forest honey harvesting is also well practiced among the tribal groups, in which neither the bees nor the tree is disturbed. Farmers in the villages have been adopted rainwater harvesting methods and able to converge government schemes to develop sustainable community assets with the potential of soil and water conservation. No more tree felling and animal human conflicts are reported in the area since last 2 decades.
Sustainable Development Impacts
The decision and interventions to protect the forest ecology has improved the forest coverage of the village area and the bottom forest with innumerable species having food and medicinal values are multiplied many fold. The protection and natural propagation of forest in the upstream areas of the river has increased the water level and quality. The environment friendly pattern of agriculture has its impact on ground water as well as top soil, the farmers could reduce their dependency on external inputs for agriculture. The periodic activities in rainwater harvesting has positive impact in the availability of water for cultivation as well as livestock. The decade long experiences of community group have effectively used to manage the forest area, entitled to the community under Forest Right Act 2006 (A GOI right based scheme for tribal and traditional forest dwellers)
Since Forest Right Act 2006 (FRA 2006) and Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) are two important and largest right based schemes under the right of people on their livelihood asset and employment, both the civil society organizations and policy makers are facing questions on the management aspect of the community assets entitled as the part of the Act. The protection of forest areas by the tribal community in Baigachak area is a unique example of how community can harness their skills and knowledge and integrate into the government policies to bring desirable changes. The community members, especially women have got both national and international recognition for their efforts in protecting and sustainable usage of the forest assets in Baigachak. The lessons from Baigachak is now replicating its nearby areas. The community members of Baigachak areas are now being invited to various places to learn the best practices they have done in Baigachak.
The strength of community level institutions at grass root level and their organized efforts to protect their ecology has proved to be one of the best practices that can be replicated in the forest villages. The visible changes in the increased water level in the traditional water resources, enhanced availability of forest produces like honey, uncultivated edible items, and non-timber forest produces are became encouraging for the villagers in the nearby areas also. The sharing of community members of Baigacheck in various national forums and workshops are in progress. Various groups and community level institutions are also visiting to the areas to have an experience with the changed village atmosphere in Baigachak
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