Community Palli - Day 1
Biodiversity Conservation for Enhanced Livelihoods
Monday October 8th, 2012
13:15 – 14:45
CEFNARM (Center for Forest and Natural Resources Management Studies), AP Forest Academy
On the first day of the CBD CoP 11, the Community Palli hosted a high-level side event organized by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Academy and its Centre for Forest and Natural Resources Management Studies (CEFNARM). The event was attended by the Assembly Speaker for Andhra Pradesh, Mr. N. Manohar, who endorsed the impressive efforts of the state forest department in linking biodiversity conservation and improving the livelihoods of rural communities.
Some examples of these efforts were presented during the side-event, based on a series of 25 case studies recently documented by CEFNARM. These twenty-five sites were identified as prime options for replication and scaling-up, and included initiatives such as processing of bamboo handicrafts by tribal communities; collection of non-timber forest products; conservation of medicinal plants; protecting habitats for birds and other key wildlife species; mangrove conservation in coastal areas; and a wide range of community-based ecotourism activities. All of these cases illustrated the key role played by both NGOs and state forest department officials. A more detailed list of these initiatives can be found below.
Describing himself as a ‘naturalist’, Mr. Manohar stated that the Andhra Pradesh Assembly was the only legislature in the country to have a committee dedicated to wildlife protection and environment. Praising the State Forest Department’s initiatives in improving rural livelihoods and conserving habitats, he also emphasized the need to create awareness on protecting biodiversity at the grassroots level.
The session was concluded by Mr. P. Balakrishna, Chairman of India’s National Biodiversity Authority, who also praised the forest conservation case studies as prime examples of the authority’s efforts to make the linkages between improved conservation and wellbeing for marginalized communities.
- The cases of Peddanutala in East Godavari district, and Katumanuvalasa and Bangarammapeta villages in Visakhapatnam, highlight the potential of increased income from sustainably harvesting non-timber forest products allied to collective marketing efforts.
- This approach has also been successful in Edugurallapally village, Khammam district, where women’s self-help groups have played a significant role in marketing of non-timber forest products.
- The Gond tribal communities of Mandapally, Adilabad, have demonstrated the viability of apiculture for enabling biodiversity conservation.
- Initiatives in Perantalapalli village encompass the sustainable use of resources and community-based ecotourism.
- Increased tourism activity in the Paapi Hills has been used as an opportunity for providing training to local tribal communities in making a wide range of bamboo handicrafts, ensuring their marketability and increased local incomes.
- The coastal area of Sorlagondi provides insights into the immense potential of mangrove conservation underpinning livelihood security through fish farming. Kobbari Chettupeta villagers, meanwhile, have shown how the better protection of mangrove forests can help to mitigate the impacts of cyclones and tsunamis.
- The women of Yerrampeta in Khammam district have demonstrated the potential of tussar cultivation in incentivizing the conservation of local ecosystems.
- Behrunguda villagers have reaped benefits from the more sustainable use of forest resources, and resulting gains in forest productivity.
- Self-initiated collective action for protecting forest resources can also be seen in Ogulapur village, where the community has been galvanized by a village elder.
- The need for inclusive approaches to tackling human-wildlife conflict is amply demonstrated by case studies from India’s largest tiger reserve, the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve. The Chenchu tribal communities of Thummalabailu and Pechheruvu have partnered with forest department field staff in protecting habitats and tracking tigers on a regular basis, and have contributed significantly to the increased tiger populations in the reserve. These efforts have also had attendant benefits for livelihoods and management of water sources.
- Tribal members of Eethapalli village have benefitted from increased bamboo forest cover within their agricultural lands.
- Successful ecotourism interventions can be seen from the case studies of Thatipudi, Mallela Theertham (Kudichintha bailu), Maredumalli, and Talakona.
- Conservationists in the village of Veerapuram have ensured that habitats are maintained for seasonal migratory bird species, while the villagers of Yeronipally, in Ananthapur district, have pioneered the restoration of a common property resource while enhancing livelihoods.
- Conservation of medicinal plants by traditional healers has been undertaken in Adilabad, Dongargaon, Mallur Konda, in Warangal district, preserving both biological and cultural heritage.