Agasthya 5.2 Diverse thoughts from a diverse landscape
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Centre for Excellence in Conservation Science
Royal Enclave,Srirampura,Jakkur Post
Telephone: 080-23635555 (EPABX)
Fax : 080- 23530070

Our study on the socio-economic aspects of forest dependent communities at different points in time aims to capture how the people and forest interact and shape each other. Being a part of the long term study gave me an opportunity to relate with people along the eastern boundary of KMTR, tea state laborers, Kani tribals and pilgrims who come o the temples located inside the forest. One common trait between villagers who resided in the immediate vicinity of the park and those inside the forests was that the older generation seemed unhappy with many restrictions that come with the declaration as a Protected Area while the younger generation did not seem to miss venturing into the forest and in many cases were keen on adapting to the new lifestyle that development had to offer. The laborers in the ea estate inside the forest appeared to have balanced the demands of the developing world and living in isolation. Some of them recalled how the estates provided them employment in early 1990s when there was a prevailing scarcity of jobs. The resultant sustained income and other social benefit schemes of the estates gave them the opportunity to educate their children. They also talk of a time when they were influenced by people outside the landscape to go on strike on various demands to the estate, ending up spoiling their good relationship with the estate and also being abandoned by the activists. Now, additional laborers come from the North-East India which is slowly but surely changing the ethnic composition in estates inside KMTR. T h e characteristics of a typical pilgrim visiting the Sorimuthian Temple inside KMTR during the Aadi-Amavasai festival also seem to be changing. What used to be a local festival now attracts people from all over Tamil Nadu. The surveys that we conducted also revealed that most of the pilgrims view their time in the forest as an outlet for the extremely monotonous and stressful lifestyle that they lead back in their villages. Further, the inconveniences and the lack of sanitation facilities do not inhibit the pilgrims from coming to the festival year after year. Though most of the people were willing to take steps to reduce their impact on the forests, the increasing number of pilgrims each year is making the situation difficult to manage. We also realized that many of the pilgrims bury or burn plastic inside the forest thinking it reduces their impact. We hope to incorporate such information in future awareness programs so that pilgrims understand the issues surrounding plastic. Such studies at different scenarios, at different points in time can help in our understanding of complex issues. For example, the data from our another study helped in evaluating the Eco-Development Program in KMTR at a finer scale. Although the program leaves much to be desired in the participation of the stakeholders in crucial decisions, it appears to have succeeded in its main goal of weaning out forest dependant forest fringe villagers from KMTR. Such insights can go a long way in aiding the conceptualization and management of intervention programs.


                                                                                                             & nbsp;                                                           

Editorial Team
Editor: Allwin Jesudasan
Associate editor: Rajkamal Goswami
Editorial Review: R. Ganesan, M. Soubadra Devy, T. Ganesh
Design and presentation: Kiran Salegame

Volume 5,  Issue 2
      July 2011

A S H O K A   T R U S T   F O R   R E S E A R C H   I N   E C O L O G Y   A N D   T H E   E N V I R O N M E N T

Diverse thoughts from a diverse landscape
-Allwin Jesudasan
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