Natham Community-based Conservation Centre

Key issues

There is a diverse set of issues that require co-management and strengthening of local involvement.

  • Security of tenure for agricultural land
  • Open access regime that assumes control over NTFP extraction and benefits, rather than this control lying with the community
  • Lack of voice in forest management
  • Lack of institutions that work towards conservation
  • Lack of consolidated efforts towards livelihoods enhancement
  • Inadequate access to state services road, potable water in hilltop villages

Research

ATREE researchers are studying the traditional capacities of different farming communities in adapting to climate change. They are documenting the local perception of climate change and its impacts on agricultural practices. Preliminary insights suggest that hill-top rainfed farmers are switching from growing diverse millets to tree-based cash crops such as cashew, mango and tamarind. Such changes in land-use are fuelled by reduced, delayed and erratic rainfall, caused possibly by climate change. Farmers almost unanimously agree that rainfall has reduced and become more unpredictable. However, changes in farming are also compounded by increasing shortage of labour, cash or credit. Migration to cities where cash incomes are higher reduces labour availability.
The recent implementation of a centrally sponsored scheme to provide employment to every rural household during the dry summer months has reduced the availability of labour for irrigated crops and vegetables. As the study progresses, it will reveal differences in the adaptive capacities and practices among hill-top rainfed farmers, plain-farmers who have access to canal water, and rainfed plain-farmers who have access to tube-wells. A better understanding of farming practices that are resilient to climate change would provide policy makers the necessary insights in shaping and strengthening relevant agricultural policies.