Major Activities:

Kalpavriksh undertakes some Major Activities in collaboration and consultation with the Local communities in Bhimashankar

  1. Community Empowerment
  2. Implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006
  3. Capacity Building
  4. Exchange visit
  5. Ecological & cultural awareness creation
  6. Celebrating wild food as one of the most important sources of nutrition
  7. The Wild Vegetable Festival at Yalavali and Bhorgiri
  8. Eco-sensitive livelihoods
  9. Medicinal Plants use and Conservation
  10. Ecological studies and development of Management Plan

Community Empowerment

  • Facilitating regular hamlet level meetings
  • Meetings in Surrounding villages about the conservation & FRA
  • Facilitating the discussions on specific village needs & linking villagers with concerned line agencies
  • Facilitating discussions on available government schemes
  • Facilitating Shramdaan for community need
    Implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006
Keeping up with the Rights based approach to conservation, many discussions were held in both the villages about the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forests Rights) Act, 2006. Officially the process of recognition of community and individual forest rights has been slow in taking off. After the discussions and facilitated by Kalpavriksh (KV),  villagers in Yelavali decided to take the process forward, passed a resolution in their village assembly, formed a forests rights committee (FRC), and filed the claims and submitted them to the Sub-divisional level, as is required. Yelavali became the first village in Khed District to file claims for individual rights over forest resources. No occupied land rights were filed. These claims were filed in the year 2009. However, since then the process has not moved ahead. Continuous follow up reveals the claims to be stuck at the Sub Divisional Level Committee. A number of reasons have been given as to why this has not move ahead, none of these reasons have been very satisfactory. We have written a letter to Tribal Commissioner based in Nasik in May 2011 (witha follow up letter in Aug 2011 for implementation of the Act in Maharashtra). A detailed study on implementation of FRA was carried out by Meenal Tulpule for her M.Sc. dissertation

Capacity Building (See Photos)

  • Exchange Visits
  • Issue Based Discussions
  • Interactions with relevant Government agencies
  • 2012 onwards we plan to organize training programmes for local level panchayati raj institutions on governance and relevant laws and policies for conservation and livelihoods
    Exchange Visit
    • Exposure visit to Promote exchange of knowledge, ideas, conservation & cultural practices, social and village development issues.
    • Visits of City dwellers to create awareness about local conservation & cultural practices
    Ecological & cultural awareness creation
    • Environment education sessions, games, screening of films, plantation of medicinal plants with school children of YelavaliBhorgiri  & two Ashram Schools
    • Training of local youth as environment educators & their involvement in conducting workshops in local schools and Terungan & Tokawade Ashram Shalas (provide link to the Bhimashankar Education Programme here)
    • Community activities like Vanbhojan & Wild vegetable festival
    • Celebrating relationship between Forest & people and exploring the positives of old traditions by organizing forest picnics & inviting outsiders to celebrate with them and organizing traditional games & cultural programmes.

    Celebrating wild food as one of the most important sources of nutrition

The Wild Vegetable Festival at Yalavali and Bhorgiri

  • Collection of Wild vegetables from the surrounding areas
  • Cooking a diversity of recipes from these vegetables
  • Session on display of different recipes  by participating families
  • Discussion on identifying the key nutrients among the wild food & their importance for the community
  • Discussion on conservation of these species
    Eco-sensitive livelihoods

We are also helping the villagers explore ecologically sensitive livelihoods through better implementation of the government schemes (particularly NREGA). Towards the latter we have been trying to approach several government offices, NGOs & individuals to build our own understanding and help villagers strengthen their understanding on the Act to use it for the twin purpose of the ecological management & restoration and livelihood security.  This is done through:

  • Training programmes on making simple products from Karvanda, Mango & Nachani
  • Helping Kamalajadevi SHG, Bhorgiri, to produce & sell Karvanda & Mango pickle
  • Helping in cultivation of Medicinal Plants. (see below)
  • Helping implementation of the NREGA
  • Facilitating small scale, low impact community based eco-tourism including home-stays

Eco-sensitive livelihoods, Bhimashankar, Maharashtra

Medicinal Plants use and Conservation

  • Promoting in-situ & ex-situ conservation of Medicinal Plants through:
  • Joint planning by the villagers & outside experts
  • Providing saplings of important Medicinal plants
  • Collection of locally available seeds & saplings
  • Cultivation  of Medicinal plants on private lands

Ecological studies and development of Management Plan

The rights under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) also include the “Right to protect, regenerate & manage the community Forest Resource”. The claiming of these rights and the subsequent process of management and protection of the forests are currently being discussed in the village. It is now being globally recognized that government agencies alone cannot protect or manage PAs without the help of the indigenous and local communities. The situation of conflict in Bhimashankar is an example of the same. The process of claiming Community Forest Resource is with the objective of being able to create a situation where the local communities and the government authorities together manage and protect the PA. While the discussion about claiming the rights of protection are going in Yelavali village, the process of demarcation of their traditional boundaries, mapping of the same, inventory of flora and fauna, and a management plan for this patch of forest is currently going on. The management plan is being developed with the help of the villagers using MIRADI as a tool. The villagers intend to submit this plan to the forest department and other relevant government agencies. In the meanwhile a Forest Protection Committee has already been formed and rules and regulations have been formulated. The implementation of these rules has not started yet. However meetings have been held in the surrounding villages to declare the intention of Yelavali to protect the forest falling within their traditional boundaries. We have had some meetings with Forest department to help community in the strategic planning for the management of the forest & requesting their involvement in the process as they are the key actors in the management of the BWLS. We await a positive response from them.

By helping local villagers strengthen their local level governance institution, assert rights over natural resources and prepare an effective management plan for the area, and helping them identify ecologically appropriate sources of livelihoods we hope to move towards resolving the conflict situation in Bhimashankar which will benefit both the wildlife and local people.

Ecological study yelavali

Specific activities taken up are:

  • Drafting of Rules by Yelavali villagers for use & management of Natural resources
  • Community forestry resource mapping using GIS. (Including marking the boundary of the village forest)
  • Flora & fauna inventory
  • Ecological monitoring by establishing 9 long term monitoring plots
  • Discussions within the community about drafting the Management plan based on the above