Khambi Village

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 Location Ecosystem Type   Conservation Type   Area(hectare) Legal status 
 Ukhrul, Manipur Forest Ecosystem Conservation 300 Not Available

Case Study (2009)

Background

Khambi village is 4 km south of Phungyar town in Kamjong sub-division of Ukhrul district, roughly 70 km north-east of Imphal. This village is inhabited by the Tangkhul tribe. The village forest under protection comprises a hill south of the village and is nearly 300 ha in area.

Before the villagers’ effort at conservation, the hill was largely degraded, with intensive use for firewood, timber, etc. by the villagers. Degradation of the forest resulted in drying up of the watersources in the village, which compelled the village to decide to relocate to another site. This decision was vehemently opposed by the village elders, who suggested that the catchment of the watersource should be regenerated to bring water back to the village. Thus the village started protecting the degraded patch. In an attempt to regenerate the degraded forest, the village authority strictly enforced a rule that no live trees should be cut in the forests without permission. It was decided that for every tree cut without permission, an initial fine of Rs 500 would be levied. A consecutive ‘offence’ by the same individual was punishable with an increase in fine. As the villagers could not afford to pay in cash, the penalty was imposed in kind – a pig. Thus a first offence would attract a fine of a small pig costing around Rs 500. The second offence would cost a juvenile pig costing around Rs 1000. The third offence would cost a mature pig costing around Rs 13,0001. The villagers normally refrain from committing any offence in the protected forest, and if need be approach the village authority for permission. Permission is sometimes granted for cutting dead or mature trees. The authority does not allow hunting of wild animals in the protected forest area. If an animal being chased for hunting outside the protected forest takes refuge in this patch, it is spared.

The protection efforts started in 1990 and have paid off as the forest has now regenerated (natural regeneration plus a few plantation). The water source has revived and is protected strictly by the villagers. There are huge trees now, including planted local species like champaca and bonsum. The author of this study feels that this area is one of the best community conservation efforts that he has come across so far in Manipur.

  This case study has been contributed by Salam Rajesh, independent researcher, in 2004.

Salam Rajesh
Sagolband Salam Leikas
Imphal 795001
Manipur
E-mail: [email protected]

1 The penalty in traditional form is in terms of a wai where a wai is a measurement by holding the two hands to measure the body circumference of the pig. So, one wai=a small pig, 1-3 months old. 3 wais=a juvenile pig. 5 wais (the maximum fine)=a mature pig that could cost anywhere between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000.

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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