Stop deforestation and restore grazing lands

by Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan (KRAPAVIS)
Bhagwana Gujjar_ a grazier with goats herd
Bhagwana Gujjar_ a grazier with goats herd

“KRAPAVIS, a local CSO based in Alwar, which has played a role in mobilizing the pastoralists of the region, have been in the forefront of highlighting the relevance of Orans as the gene pool of Rajasthan on one hand and their intimate relationship with the local communities on the other”, writes Dr. Sunil Dubey, Member in five IUCN World Commissions, in his recent research report ‘Deliberate Deprivation of Forest Resource Rights and Forced Eviction of Indigenous Communities’.

KRAPAVIS project attempts to bring forth the perceptions and bio-cultural practices of forest dwelling and grazier communities in the Alwar district of the Indian State of Rajasthan. The project explores the perception of the communities about their relationship with forest resources, their traditional practices with respect to resource governance and major challenges relating to livelihood and land tenure. A series of participatory workshops, interactive sessions and interviews with the communities, organised by KRAPAVIS, with the help of a law agency Natural Justice.   In addition to regular interactions, we used participatory tools like community territory mapping and community resource mapping.

The participatory activities and interactions were with various communities namely, Gujjar, Jatavs, Meena, Jogi and other stakeholders. These communities were mainly from the villages of Bakhatpura, Bera, Kalikhol, Nathusar, Loj, Binak, Lilunda and others. Bhagwana Gujjar, a 70 years old pastoralist from Binak village says, “Hame en prakiryao se anpa charai jugal va pani sanrakshit karne me bahut bada labh hua” (these exercises helped us a lot for conservation of our grazing forest land and water).

Graziers have rich culture_worshiping Oran deity
Graziers have rich culture_worshiping Oran deity

Attachments:
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

Links:

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
 

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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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