Stop deforestation and restore grazing lands

by Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan (KRAPAVIS)
Vetted
Pastoralists & other stakeholders in the Workshop
Pastoralists & other stakeholders in the Workshop

Over 100 stakeholders; representatives of pastoralists (including Orans dwelling communities), farmers, civil societies/ NGOs, researchers, cultural institutions, and district level government officers of the line departments, came together on the 22nd September 2016. The objective of the workshop was mainly to discuss the specifics of what has been proposed in the state under the Green-Ag Project, and to get buy-in and inputs from key stakeholders. In the Desert National Park (DNP) India, the project will seek to achieve enhanced conservation outcomes i.e. stop deforestation/desertification and restore grazing lands, also enhancing the wider production landscape around the DNP for improved livelihoods. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (“FAO”) has supported the workshop, under the project “Green-Ag Project: Transforming Indian agriculture for global environmental benefits and the conservation of the critical biodiversity and forest landscapes”. The workshop was facilitated by KRAPAVIS (Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan), venue at Krishi Vignyan Kendra (KVK) Jaisalmar, Rajasthan, India.

Community members planting trees
Community members planting trees

Under the project, from establishing tree nursery, to undertaking planting trees, setting up a seed bank, water harvesting, setting up village institutions for better management, building and maintain ponds and many other similar activities, are implementing. The project ensures community participation in these conservation efforts. Many local species of fruit trees and medicinal plants have also been reintroduced in the area and people have been encouraged to ensure the upkeep of the same; this will help preserve the biodiversity of the area. Communities recognise this land as a source of water, food, fodder, fuel and medicines.

Hamara Garuba ji Gaucher mei ab sab kuch hara-bhara; jisme chara, pani, janwar glaya (In our Grubaji grazing land, we now have plenty wood –wildlife and water); Santi Devi , a 65 year old woman pastoralist from Vijaypura village, District Alwar Rajasthan.

On 19 June 2016, Aditi Sodhani from the Global Giving Team visited the project sites and her views about the project “It was great to visit your project sites and learn so much about what amazing work KRAPAVIS is doing---.“

Pastoralists managed to stop deforestation
Pastoralists managed to stop deforestation

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Empowering communities_ A Training Session
Empowering communities_ A Training Session

“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.

Brain storming meetings with Pastoralists
Brain storming meetings with Pastoralists

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.

Acol, an important indigenous tree species
Acol, an important indigenous tree species
Interface with community Leaders
Interface with community Leaders

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.
Learning from project community
Learning from project community

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Organization Information

Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan (KRAPAVIS)

Location: Alwar, Rajasthan - India
Website: http:/​/​www.krapavis.netne.net
Project Leader:
Aman Singh Singh
Project Leader
Alwar, Rajasthan India

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