Sundarban Tiger Reserve, West Bengal

Sundarban Tiger Reserve

Joint Forest Management


Background:

India has a long history of co-existence of people and the wild so that there is space for both to thrive in harmony.The oldest examples are the sacred groves, which are an indigenous community approach for protecting patches of forests for a variety of ecosystem services. Many communities have historically protected local forests. Joint Forest Management (JFM) is an approach and programme initiated in the context of the National Forest Policy of 1988 wherein state forest departments support local forest dwelling and forest fringe communities to protect and manage forests and share the costs and benefits from the forests with them. JFM has the potential to meet local subsistence needs, of fuel wood, fodder, other non-timber forest produce (NTFP) etc., to provide livelihood through sale of produce, while at the same time, preventing degradation of the forests that provide local, nationaland global environmental benefits

In Sundarban

26 JFMC are active for Wildlife wing in various locations. Both male and female participants are actively in involved in the administration and decision making of access and benefit sharing of the available resources. The following resources are managed and sustainably utilised from the forests of the Sundarban Tiger Reserve Buffer areas providing livelihood opportunities to the JFMC members-

  • Honey- collected by the local people in summer seasons with permission from the forest department.
  • Fishing –BLC, the forest dept gives permit to the fishermen to earn their livelihood.
  • Prawn and Crab Collection from the wild.
  • Eco Development Activities: Various eco-developmental activities like Capacity Building in the fields of Aquatic species management like Fisheries, crab fattening, Prawn cultivation etc,
  • Infrastructure facilities like Jetties (repairing of jetty at Dayapur JFMC area under Sajnekhali WLS etc.) ,Community centres, Brick soling pathways, Embankments maintenance etc.
  • Water Treatment Plants- supply and installation of water treatment plan (capacity 1500 lit/hr) at Mitrabari and various interior places of Sundarban.
  • Livelihood support activities like Goat rearing, Duckery are going on in the current year by the forest department like conduction of veterinary camp in various ranges

The benefits to the inhabitants is direct access and control on the use and sale of most NTFPs and a share in the income from forest products as well as other intangible benefits from local ecosystem services – like water recharge, pollination, wildlife habitat etc. Thus association of communities in conservation of forests and wildlife is of paramount interest.

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