Action Research in the Eastern Himalayas

Conservation and Livelihood Security in the Eastern Himalayas

India’s rural poor is vitally dependent on daily inputs and services from local ecosystems, both for subsistence farming and for supplementary harvest of various ecosystem products and services. Therefore, we face the dual challenge of conserving biodiversity on the one hand and enhancing the livelihood security of those who rely on elements of this biodiversity on the other.

The most critical and contested areas are those around protected forest areas. ATREE’s work on reconciling conservation and livelihoods has been carried out in forest fringe villages of protected or reserved areas of the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats (see MM Hills CCC and Conservation and Livelihoods). The project in Eastern Himalaya region covers villages in the vicinity of Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary and near the two protected areas of Singalila National Park and Neora Valley National Park. This project is supported by the Blue Moon Fund. (Also see grants available for work in the Eastern Himalayas).

The Northeast project goal has been to build models of natural resource management to enhance livelihoods and ecological services. The approach to accomplishing this has been through:

Empowering local communities so they may exercise their rights to judiciously manage local ecosystem resources Bringing together institutions to drive changes in governance and policies concerning the use and management of ecosystem services
Improving value chains, developing new products and services and establishing new market linkages to enhance returns on micro enterprises; and creating a gateway for marketable developmental and ecosystem services through a new community-owned organization Monitoring biodiversity changes as a result of social and economic interventions