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Describe how communities have conserved and protected forests and wildlife in India?

Last Updated : 19 Oct, 2023
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India is known for its different landscapes and rich biodiversity. India has a vibrant culture and a large no of natural resources. Local communities are important members of the conservation of forests and wildlife as they are dependent on it. Such communities are preserving the beauty of these forests and wildlife in India. They are following some rituals and traditions that are somehow helping the conservation of forests. Let’s understand in detail how these communities are contributing to the conservation of forests and wildlife in India.


Communities involved in conservation of forest and wildlifes

Communities around the nation are developing healthy routes for preserving forests and wildlife due to their years of experience, customs of culture, and deep relationships with the land. They have achieved enormous success in the fight against habitat loss, deforestation, and the decreasing number of wildlife populations owing to their committed efforts frequently in cooperation with governmental and non-governmental organizations. Still, these communities are not getting enough support from the government.

Here are some examples of Indian groups that have assisted in conservation efforts.

1. Community Forest Management (CFM): These arrangements enable communities to take part in the sustainable management of forest resources and to participate in decision-making processes. These efforts have succeeded in reducing invasions and illegal logging through the participation of locals.

2. Eco-Tourism and Sustainable Livelihoods: Numerous cities have embraced eco-tourism projects, giving tourists the chance to experience natural environments and wildlife while also bringing in money for residents. By using this strategy, communities are urged to save the animals and the environment in their immediate vicinity.

3. Sacred Groves: As part of their religious and cultural customs, various communities in India protect and maintain particular groves or forests that they personally regard as sacred. These sacred groves are hubs for biodiversity because they are undisturbed and serve as refuge for a wide range of plant and animal species.

4. Traditional Medicine and Biodiversity Conservation: These practices, which can be essential in maintaining ecological balance include traditional medicine, seed preservation, and sustainable farming methods.

5. Community-Based Conservation Organizations: Such organizations are frequently run by locals who are committed to protecting their natural heritage and who are familiar with the biological details of their surroundings.

6. Environmental activism and legal advocacy: Certain communities have taken the lead in legal efforts to stop habitat loss and deforestation. To safeguard their rights and protect their lands from destructive projects of development, they take part in environmental action.

1. Chipko Movement

Chipko Movement is one of the popular community movement in India. It helped for the conservation of forest and wildlife in some unique ways. In 1973, the Mandal village in the Alaknanda Valley of the Garhwal region saw the establishment of the Chipko Movement. Hugging trees and physically preventing workers from felling them was largely carried out by women. Their participation brought attention to the value of forest resources for rural populations. It was a non-violent event that aimed to increase ecological awareness in addition to tree protection. Deforestation and excessive logging, according to activists for the environment, would cause soil erosion, reduced access to water, and other ecological issues, which would ultimately impact the nearby towns.

Success Of Chipko Movement

The Chipko Movement was effective in bringing up the value of forests and the necessity of sustainable development. Partially due to the movement’s efforts, then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced a 15-year ban on tree cutting in the Himalayan region. The success of the Chipko Movement in preserving the Himalayan forests has been recognized as an important turning point in India’s history as an environmentalist. The Chipko Movement continues to stand for grassroots environmental action.

2. Save the Western Ghats Movement

Save the Western Ghats Movement was established in 2000s. due to the dangers posed by habitat destruction, mining and deforestation in the area of Western Ghats. It’s main focus is to preserve the Western Ghats diverse flora and wildlife as well as its numerous endemic species. Local communities, groups, environmental organizations participate in this campaign to promote the preservation of the Western Ghats. The campaign stresses the importance of protecting these forests as an approach to combat climate change because the Western Ghats are seriously threatened by it.

To conserve one of India’s most ecologically crucial and diverse regions, the “Save the Western Ghats Movement” is an essential initiative. It seeks to find a balance between development and conservation, taking into mind the Western Ghats future sustainability and the well-being of those living that depend on it.

Communities involved in conservation of forest and wildlifes

1. Bishnoi Community

The Bishnoi community is known for its dedication to conserve wildlife and the environment, especially black deer and peacocks. The preservation of the environment and animals is highlighted in 29 of their guiding principles. These values form the foundation of their conservation activities and serve as their way of life. They are renowned for being prepared to suffer physically to safeguard animals.

The Guru Jambheshwar teachings serve as the foundation for the unique Hindu and Sikh spiritual practices that the Bishnoi group exercises. Their spiritual practices place a strong emphasis on purity, truth and non-violence. The Bishnoi people traditionally live sustainably and they avoid waste and use resources properly. The environmental ethics and traditions of the Bishnoi people have attracted interest and respect within India and abroad. Their dedication to protecting the environment and wildlife serves as an inspiring instance of how local communities may make an important contribution to environmental preservation.

2. Khasi Tribe

The Meghalayan Khasi people are renowned for their sustainable and cutting-edge agricultural methods, which include living root bridges and communally managed sacred woodlands referred to as “sacred groves.” For the preservation of biodiversity, these groves are essential.

They engage in a number of nature-based spiritual practices. A significant percentage of Khasi people work in agriculture and engage in shifting farming in Meghalaya’s harsh landscape. They cultivate maize in addition to other crops like rice and fruits. The Khasi tribe distinguishes out among India’s numerous native communities because of its matriarchal social structure and unique cultural practices. There distinctive customs and ways of life reflects the diversity of cultures.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

This is one of India’s most significant laws for the preservation of wildlife. It offers legal guidelines for the preservation and protection of wildlife, including different animal and bird species. The law specifies restrictions on poaching and hunting for food, the establishment of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and punishments for crimes involving wildlife.

Key Points in Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

  • Protection of Wildlife: It provides legal protection for a number of protected species.
  • Regulation of Hunting and Poaching: This law bans hunting, poaching or capturing any of the listed wildlife species unless specifically authorized and in accordance with regulations.
  • Habitat protection: It seeks to stop the destruction of important habitats caused by industrial development, mining and deforestation.
  • Wildlife Trade: The act controls the sale of wildlife and its byproducts. It places tight restrictions on the transportation, sale and ownership of animals, namely ivory and other animal products.
  • Penalties: The act specifies fines and imprisonment as penalties and punishments for violations.

Challenges faced by communities in conservation of forest and wildlife

Communities have contributed in conservation of forest and wildlife on larger extent. They are facing some of the challenges. We have covered some challenges faced by these communities in conservation of forest.

  • Their capacity to put into practice efficient conservation, the plans may be restricted by a lack of funds and technical support.
  • Communities, businesses and governmental organizations frequently dispute over the use of land and the allocation of resources.
  • Communities face threats from illegal activities including invasions, illegal hunting and the smuggling of timber.
  • The consequences of climate change will greatly complicate conservation efforts as wildlife populations can be affected by changed wildlife migration routes, severe weather like floods and droughts and alterations in weather patterns.
  • Some communities may struggle with administrative challenges and little funding from the government, which affects their conservation efforts.
  • Some communities might have to take part in environmentally harmful practices for survival because of poverty and a lack of alternative sources of income, which will have an impact on conservation efforts.
  • Community involvement may be limited by an absence of understanding and awareness of conservation problems.
  • Conflicts might develop as a result of crop raiding, property damage, and challenges to human safety in areas where communities reside together with wildlife.

Communities involved in conservation of forest and wildlifes – FAQs

1. Describe how communities have conserved and protected forests and wildlife in India?

The establishment of community-based laws and guidelines to protect wildlife and natural resources reflects a deep respect for nature and a commitment to conservation. This approach, often seen in tribal communities and villages, is an example to the practice of nature worship and the importance of safeguarding forests and wildlife.

2. How does eco-tourism in India help in the safeguarding of wildlife and local communities?

Communities benefit from eco-tourism by receiving extra revenue and supporting regional economic growth. Also, it raises tourist awareness of the value of safeguarding the environment and wildlife, thereby helping in wildlife conservation efforts.

3. Which community-led conservation initiatives in India have been a success?

The Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary Community Conservation Project in Maharashtra and the Van Rakshak Project in Uttarakhand are a couple of examples of effective community-led wildlife conservation initiatives in India.

4. What are the financial advantages of Indian communities supporting forest and animal conservation?

Involvement of the local community in conservation efforts often results in economic benefits due to eco-tourism, sustainable resource use, and income-generating occupations like handicrafts and medicinal products. Communities gain economically from livelihoods based on conservation while also maintaining their natural heritage.

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