“The KRAPAVIS interventions with the Gujjars in Sariska Tiger Reserve show that a change in the attitude of the conservation authorities’ vis-à-vis local communities is essential and authorities should take into consideration the needs of the communities whose survival is threatened by protective regulation. The way the villagers perceive conservation measures is extremely important as it can influence their willingness to respect them or not”. Reports Kotnala, Bhardwaj (April 2016): Pastoralists re-establish traditional ecosystems and customary rights; KRAPAVIS Case study of the ILC Database of Good Practices. Rome: ILC.
KRAPAVIS projects’ interventions have been to empower communities for asserting their grazing rights and traditional water harvesting techniques for preservation of the ‘Oran’- a traditional ecosystem unique to forest communities of Rajasthan. The villagers are demonstrating that community management of biodiversity is a better approach wildlife conservation rather than removal and resettlement of forest dependent communities from their habitat. KRAPAVIS along with communities carried out the participatory mapping exercise. Apart from preparing resource maps, community members also actively took part in preparing the Eco-Calendar showing changing pattern in access to forest resources with the change of seasons. They also prepared maps showing customary boundaries and landmarks of their villages and compared their customary map boundaries with the village revenue maps.
Under the project ‘Stop deforestation and restore grazing lands’, a series of brain storming meetings were organised in the project villages, during November- December 2015. In the meetings, pastoralists listed important indigenous plants species that they want to restore/ cultivate in and around their grazing lands. They demanded that the following species deserve inclusion in the conservation list e.g. Jungle Bundi (Cordia Gharaf), Kalakuda, Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Akol (Alangium salviifolium), Kateera / Karaya (Sterculia urens), Guggal (Commiphora wightii), Chhila (Butea monosperma), Kalam (Mitragyna parvifolia), Khejri / Sigrela (Prosopis cineraria), Kalihari / Ladokli (Gloriosa superb), Dansar (Rhus mysorensis) etc. Project team provided the scientific name of these tree species. Also, the villagers have planned to raise nursery of these speciesand take up tree plantations in the upcoming monsoon season.
Shriram Gujjar, a 75 years old pastoralist from Binak village shares a case study that his village is important for conservation of unique species, like Acol (Allangium salvifolium), Jamun (Syzygium cuminii), Kair (Capparis decidua), Dhok (Anogeissus pendula), Ber (Zizyphus mauritiana), Chapun (Grewia hirsutae Vahl), Chhila (Butea monosperma), Gular (Ficus glomerata), Papadi (Holoptelia integrifolia) among many others.
This project ‘Stop Deforestation and Restore Grazing Lands’ undertakes conservation measures include building rainwater harvesting structures, trees plantation, capacity building of indigenous pastoralists’ communities, and so on. On 3rd November 2015, a group of 15 leaders (from Leaders Quest) representing different countries visited Bera, one of the project sites, to learn about the project. During the meeting with the group, the community leaders (like Bodan Gujjar, Sitaram Gujjar, Ramkaran Gujjar- just to name a few) shared their experiences about the project. The gist of their sharing is as follows;
We have established Van Adhikar Samiti (Forest Rights Committee), an institution for claiming grazing rights and conservation;
Reviving grazing lands ‘Orans/ Devbani’; through construction and repair of talabs, water harvesting structures; setting up and maintaining a buffalo bull and nurseries for tree plantation and grass broadcasting. And, taken up plantation of a wide variety of indigenous trees to cope with the expected reduction in annual rainfall associated with climate change in this region;
Maintains habitats in forest and grazing areas for birds and wild animals through rituals like Cheetwal,Chugga dalan and other traditional systems;
Adopting new low-cost technologies, including solar paneling, which reduce demand for fuel wood and thus helping in conservation and maintain vegetation cover.
Thus the above conservation initiatives of KRAPAVIS’s project increase the adaptive capacity of our communities, in our village, to deal with climate change.
During the reporting period, a process of mapping according to the indigenous pastoral communities' knowledge has been initiated for the recognition of forests rights, particularly grazing and other rights over the forest lands. A series of workshop was organised in 10 villages. The forest on which the people depend was mapped in these village level workshops, through the process of historical mapping by the communities themselves, narrating the local names of every locality. In these workshops, brief presentation of the contextual history of the Indian Forest Rights Act 2006 highlighting the historical injustice done to these forest dwellers. Tracking the laws and policies to show that the conservation laws and policies began to recognise that without the cooperation of the local community, the forests cannot be protected. Further to discuss the multifarious dimensions of forest based livelihood systems and the relevance of community forest rights and to strengthen this process, a day long discussion held in participation of several like minded groups (IELA, KRAPAVIS, Sakti, Jungle Jameen Jan Andolan), on 22nd July 2015.
During the reporting period, tribal women from the project area involved in raising saplings in a nursery so that the plantation in the upcoming monsoon can be taken up. The nursery is located at Bakhtpura village in ‘Siliserh Chhind’, a landscape in Alwar district of Rajasthan (India). The landscape is home to a large number of agro-pastoralist communities. Their main source of livelihood is animal husbandry and agriculture. The vegetative landscape consists of sparse dry land grass intermingled with thorny, desert shrub and small stands of dry, deciduous forest, on which the communities depend for fuel and grazing for their livestock. The most common tree species are being raised for fodder includes Prosopis cineraria, Acacia sp., Zizyphus and Anogeissus pendula. Both species, during the time immediately before the monsoon or in times of severe drought, provide fodder when other tree species become devoid in foliage. According to the pastoralists, the landscape provides them with indispensable vegetation to feed their livestock. Co-management and worship of the Orans by the pastoralists contributes to greater species diversity in cultivated and wild plants as well as guaranteed sustainable access to members of the community.
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