Conservation of Natural resources for Sustainable Devlopments

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Conservation of Natural resources for Sustainable Devlopments

Guwahati, India
Year Founded:
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Sustainable development at local, regional and global scale perhaps is the most difficult task that humanity has ever faced. Central to all of the many approaches aimed at both identifying unsustainable practices and achieving sustainability, are access to scientific knowledge and its application. The great sustainability problems of the 21st century e.g., poverty alleviation, sustainable food production, clean and accessible water resources, the health of ecosystem and maintenance of biodiversity all require usable scientific knowledge as one critical component for their solution. Thus, whatever cultural, geographical, economic or environmental setting, a partnership between natural sciences and social sciences is a fundamental prerequisite for sustainable development. Hence, I had always try to use the science for sustainability approach through my organization to conserve the biodiversity to help the poor. I believe that Importance of scientific education for the understanding of sustainability issues means the effective communication about the basic principles related to the operational mechanism of different components of the environment as well as the information concerned with recent scientific research in the related fields. In Assam our diversity of natural resources is the only material basis for a stable national economy and social development. I am trying my best to work with the people to make them understand about the need of conservation of natural resources.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Rapid depredation of natural resources that influence the life and poverty of people along with the loss of wildlife.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Community development, awareness, co-existence with wildlife and resource rights.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The best example can be cited from Chakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary. The tribes that inhabit the fringe villages of Chakrashila are the Rabha and Bodo. Besides them there are some Garo and the Rajbanshi tribals, along with some Muslim families as new entrants to the villages. Agriculture is the main occupation of the villagers, with paddy as the main crop. In addition to paddy, potatoes and green vegetables are grown for home consumption and a few livestock are kept. Most families own their own looms and weave their own cloth. The income levels of the villagers are low, and they depend upon the surrounding forest resources in order to meet most of their daily requirements, such as raw material for houses, agricultural and musical implements; and for food, fuel and fodder. Most of the protein in their diet comes from the forest areas in the form of fish, snails and insects. There is a heavy dependence on the perennial springs of the forest for irrigation and potable water. Legally the forests of Chakrashila are categorized as USF (Unclassed State Forests). The denudation of forests began here due to the extreme poverty of the local villagers. In order to earn a daily living, the villagers worked for the affluent merchants who hailed from different districts of Assam. They used the local villagers’ services as labourers for extraction of firewood and valuable timber from these forests. Indiscriminate smuggling of sal and other valuable trees left this more than 5 sq km stretch of once-thick forest completely denuded. The degradation led to a scarcity of biomass for the local villagers. The major shortfall in the resources that could be used by the villagers led to the migration of youth to other places to seek employment. Most of them started working as labourers in the coalfields in Meghalaya, while the others came under the influence of political ideologies and took up arms. The rise in forest denudation led the villagers into encroaching deeper and deeper into the forest. This in turn caused further drastic shrinkage of the forests extending up to 20 sq km. The conservation efforts were initiated by our NGO Nature’s Beckon, which has been visiting the area since the 1980s. They realized that the conservation of Chakrashila would not be possible unless the local villagers prevented outsiders from exploiting their forest resources. They felt a need to educate the local people on the importance of conservation for their own welfare. Towards this objective, in 1985 they set up a temporary settlement at Jornagra village on the periphery of Chakrashila. Various activities such as active bird-watching trips and trekking through the forest were taken up. Complimenting the work of Nature’s Beckon, some of the village youth showed a keen interest and eventually became members of the group. Gradually, the local tribes developed trust towards the group and held active discussions on the various aspects of the environment. This group started convincing the people that the local people were the only ones who could work towards saving and restoring the natural resources of Chakrashila. Although some of the villagers were receptive to this suggestion, they expressed their inability and helplessness to take pro-active efforts to prevent the powerful merchants and poachers from invading the forests. The people were made to realize that these actions were a punishable offence and the benefit of the doubt would rest with the people who are working towards conservation. There was a remarkable effect after conservation efforts by the villagers providing them a sense of self-respect by way of improvement in their economic condition. They set an example to adjacent villages like Abhyakuti, Bandarpara, Kaljani, Damodarpur, Banshbari and many others. On 14 July 1994, the Governor of Assam notified the area a Wildlife Sanctuary. After the notification, Chakrashila started receiving funds for the socio-economic development of the fringe villages.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

At this stage, my works include community motivation, identification of potential habitats and issues related to conservation of natural resources and sustainable development. I had been working with various community groups to motivate them for conservation. Continuous village and school awareness camps are going on. My focal animals include Birds, Primates Elephant, Rhino and Tiger. I had continuously using mass media to spread the message of conservation of these species.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

This is completely a community supported work. Once you convince them they will work themselves. You just have to monitor them and support them externally.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Most of the big NGOs and Government departments are working in many places of Assam but they are short term in their work for limitation of funds and community acceptance. I am working in most of the places without any large fund. I am supported by my NGO and other well wisher. I am focus to my work and committed to my people.


Rakesh Soud's picture

The rights to natural resources can only help the sustainability of both poor people and wildlife.