CCA Conservation of biodiversity and strengthening ecosystem services
About the Implementing organization
Name: Somdal village
Year of establishment: 2008
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Indigenous group or organization
The economy of this indigenous tribal being forest and agro-based pressure on land was very high as the village has less land compared to the growing village population.
Secondly, most of the forest being community land, it was difficult to regulate land use among a large population who depend on community forest. There was no effective control on land use. Unsustainable land use pattern due to heavy pressure was threatening the forest to almost degradation around the village. Village community started to feel the pinch of forest degradation. In the decision of conservation versus livelihood of the villagers, the village chose to conserve the forest with the view of sustainability for all. The village authority has to face the challenge of meeting the needs of the village farmers who depend on this forest for their livelihood. However, their struggle was not in vain. They can experience the benefit now.
Forests / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Health / Climate action
Conservation of Chonnir forest has led to improving the moisture content of soil. Water was drying up affecting not only the Somdal village but the surrounding two villages which depend on the water source from this forest. Water to terrace paddy field was depleting resulting to abandoning of many terrace fields. Conservation of this forest has recharged water sources and the paddy fields have been reclaimed after 7-8 years.
This forest patch is connected to Patkai hills in Nagaland through Tingshong forest.No hunting is allowed in this forest. Therefore, villagers started spotting wild animals which were almost vanished from the surrounding forest due to heavy degradation of forest and habitat loss.
Improvement of water supply to the village compound has improved sanitation and cleanliness of the village. This also reduced the workload of women as generally women take the responsibility to fetch water from the ponds if it were not supplied in the compound due to lack of water supply source.
Sustainable Development Impacts
1. Recharging the water source and therefore enabling the villagers to reclaim terrace field has helped in ensuring food security to villagers.
2. With the retention of moisture around the village, there has been an improvement in homestead gardening. Livestock keeping has improved which provided supplementary income as well as better nutrition to the families.
3. There has been an improvement in production of NTFPs which in turn has boosted the skills and income of women groups as they developed skills on value addition and sell the products.
4. Improvement in water source helped the village to improve sanitation and cleanliness in the village.
5. Less availability of forest land for cultivation and other livelihood needs made villagers to diversify their economic activities. Non-farm based activities such as weaving, petty business, food processing, animal husbandry, handicraft etc. have provided sustainable alternative livelihood options to this indigenous community.
Protection of large scale of forest patch in the village which has less land for cultivation was a big challenge. However, diversification of economic activities from farm-based to non-farm based activities made it possible to protect the forest. This forest being part of forest Patkai hill in Nagaland forms an animal corridor through Tingshong forest. Protecting contagious forest in the neighboring villages will protect the watershed of Iril river -one of the main rivers of Manipur which falls into the Loktak Lake which is one of the biggest freshwater lakes in India.
Neighboring villages of Somdal cultivate marijuana on the hillock after clearing the forest. The indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and weedicides has polluted the soil and surrounding area as much as that the stream flowing from and through the hillock has been contaminated and the water has been made unfit for drinking. As such neighboring villages namely Phalee and L Phungdhar are depending on the water source from Chonnir forest and taking permission from Somdal village. Somdal village is talking to these neighboring villages to plan themselves as they cannot share the water forever. Neighboring villages have also started to feel the impact of forest depletion and unsustainable land use practices. These villages can develop community-based rules and regulation for the management of their degraded forest and plan to restore the health of the forest as has been done by Somdal. These villages have the same landscape, land use pattern and practices and culture.
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