Mapum Village

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

Case Study (2009)

Background

Mapum village is located at the eastern foothill of Shirui Kashong Peak which is 74km away from Ukhrul district. The village is constituted of 134 households. This area is the only corridor for animal migration from Ango-hill range (in Myanmar) to this district. Jhum (shifting cultivation) is the main activity in the village. The village is occupied by the tangkhul (naga) tribe. Like many other indigenous communities in this area, forest management has been basically for the purpose of shifting cultivation in this village. Hunting and selling of dry meat was one of their main sources of income in the village until recently.

The village is about 600 years old. Over the years the practice of jhum has became unsustainable due to reduced cultivation cycles (returning to the same patch before it could regenerate fully). Not only did food security become a problem, but water and firewood scarcity also became acute in the village. Villagers had to go as far as 4-5km for collection of fuelwood. The situation was particularly difficult for women. It was in this scenario that the IFAD-funded North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas (NERCORMP-IFAD)1 came to this village in the year 2001. Mobilization and capacity building for conservation started by forming a natural resource management group (NaRMG) and self help groups (SHGs).

The programme helped the NaRMG and village council (VC, the main decision making body in the village) members to create awareness and initiate discussions about revival of the traditional practice of protecting a patch of forest as village reserved forests. The problems faced by women in collecting drinking water and firewood and consequent impact on each household was deliberated upon to convince villagers of the importance and value of protecting a critical catchment area and water resource. The local NGOs facilitated this process. The NaRMG and VC jointly began discussing demarcation of the boundaries and drafting of rules and regulations best suited to their village.

One important rule was that the households could extract the natural resources for their own consumption but not for sale outside the village. Prevention of forest fire was another key area of deliberation, and stringent penalty for violators was decided. The village has formulated a perspective plan for biodiversity conservation in their protected forests and the surrounding area.

NERCORMP-IFAD project in this village has brought in changes in the social, human, financial, physical and natural capitals or assets of the community. The project also brought in the idea of conserving part of their village forest as community forests or community conserved areas for their biodiversity and environmental values. Alternative sources of livelihoods have provided them opportunities to increase their income without having to cut their forest for jhum as was the practice before the project interventions. NERCORMP-IFAD also took up development of terrace fields in this village and now about 50% of the households have terrace fields for paddy cultivation and so practice settled agriculture. These activities have actually reduced their dependency on forest for livelihoods, consequently the conserved area is regenerating successfully. The villagers anticipate eventual ecological and economical benefits from the conserved area.

The village community is now well mobilized for conservation and is realizing and experiencing the benefits of their efforts. The area is rich in wildlife as it is contiguous with neighbouring Shirui forest area. The villagers report presence of leopard, bear, deers, slow loris, hoolock gibbon, tragopan, wild fowl, porcupine among others in their reserved forest and the neighbouring forest areas. The main vegetation is alder, pine, oak, taxus among others.

One major constraint to biodiversity conservation in this area is that the neighbouring villages are not covered under the NERCORMP-IFAD project. Many of the individuals in these neighbouring villages continue to hunt and trap animals. Unless, these neighbouring villages are also covered under such project or massive awareness programmes, the isolated efforts of Mapum village may not yield desired results or conservation goals.

Biodiversity conservation will be much more fruitful if small incentives could be provided to the NaRMG. The forest committee members are safeguarding the village forest in every possible way without any honorarium. Several attempts to converge their efforts with some government programme have not yielded any encouraging results. If biodiversity conservation programmes have to be taken forward, forest-based livelihoods must be given priority by the government.

There are likely to be many endemic and endangered species in this area. There is an urgent need for proper survey of flora and fauna. However the community members do not have any expertise in this field nor do they have needed support to undertake such work. It may be mentioned that the famous shirui lily occurs in this area.

  This case study has been contributed by Vincent Darlong and Tutumoni Lyngdoh of IFAD and Thingreiphi and Selim Keishing of the Ukhrul District Community Resource Management Society in June 2007.

Vincent Darlong
North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas [NERCORMPIFAD],

“Sympli Building”,
Dhankheti,
Shillong 793 001,
Meghalaya
Ph: 0364-2503531, 2500495
Email: [email protected]

Tutumoni Lyngdoh
(As above)

Thingreiphi

Ukhrul District Community Resource Management Society [NERCORMP-IFAD],
P.O. Ukhrul,
Ukhrul District,
Manipur.
Ph: 03870-22183

Selim Keishing
(As above)

1 North Easter Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas (NERCOMP) is a Joint Project of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of India, Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, North East Council, Shillong, Meghalaya. For more details on the programme, see www. necorps.org.

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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