Jogyanagar Village

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 Location Ecosystem Type   Conservation Type   Area(hectare) Legal status 
 Birbhum, West Bengal Mixed Species Protection Not Available Not Available

Case Study (2009)

Background

Jogyanagar is a village situated in Birbhum district of south-western Bengal. It is located at a distance of 13 km from Shantiniketan. This village is an abode for the open-billed storks that flock this area for nesting and breeding, and is well known for this in the region. The inhabitants of the village are Muslims and are dependent on rice cultivation.

The villagers of Jogyanagar have been traditionally protecting the habitat of the birds, which are the mango and tamarind trees in the village. According to the villagers, the avian visitors flock in their thousands each year during the nesting season, which begins from June and ends in October.

The relationship with the birds is traditional and symbiotic. While the birds get protection in the village, villagers benefit from using the bird droppings as fertilizer in the fields.

Very often these birds visit the rice fields of the neighbouring villages, where they are hunted or trapped. Any attempts by the villagers from Jogyanagar to oppose these activities leads to the action being given a communal twist. Though a series of ecological and social impact assessments of the system have been done by the Visva Bharati University and other institutions, for the villagers nothing much has come out of it. The forest department (FD) has shown little interest in supporting the villagers or protecting the birds. The villagers strongly feel that the FD must take up the responsibility of protecting the birds and also help the villagers in doing this.

This case shows that protection of species by local villagers often happens based on sentiments, tradition and mutual understanding. However, given the changing socio-economic scenario, these villagers need support to be able to carry on with these efforts. This support can be legal, financial or political.

  This case study has been compiled Joy Dasgupta for this Directory in 2001. He is currently at ICIMOD, Kathmandu. 

Joy Dasgupta
Assistant Coordinator, Strengthening ABSBIO-EH
(Access and Benefit-sharing of Biological Resources in the Eastern Himalayas)
Culture, Equity, Gender and Governance (CEGG) Programme
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
P.O. Box 3226
Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: 00977-1-2210319 (R) 977-1-5525313 (O)
Email: [email protected]

This case study was part of the Directory on Community Conserved Areas (2009), published by Kalpavriksh. The directory can be downloaded here.

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