Panjawar Village

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 Location Ecosystem Type   Conservation Type   Area(hectare) Legal status 
 Una, Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Conservation 250 Privately Owned

Case Study (2009)

Background

Panjawar is situated in the Haroli taluka of Una district in Himachal Pradesh. Una town is about 20 km from Panjawar and buses and trains ply regularly from here to Panjawar.

The landscape can be described as typically Shivalik with a sub-tropical mixed forest. Species like khair, pansara and sisoo are found here. Amongst the fauna there are leopards, jackals, barking deer, Indian wild boars, wild fowl and nilgai.

The upper-caste communities in the village are the rajputs, brahmins, batis, jats and Muslims. The scheduled caste communities are the julahas, chamars, lohars and telis. The total human population is 5400. Agriculture, services and wage labour are the main occupations. The total livestock population is 1000 cows, 4000 buffaloes and 100 goats.

The forests are privately owned by some of the upper-caste people in the village. The villagers depend upon these forests to meet their fuelwood needs. Income is generated by the owners of the forest from the sale of khair trees every ten years and sale of bhabbar (grass for making ropes) and fodder grass every year to contractors.

The 250 ha of protected forest were private forests until 1892, when a government programme decided to club private forests into co-operatives in Kangra district for the purpose of checking soil erosion. It took 47 years before it was officially brought under the government program and registered as a Soil Conservation Co-operative in 1939. A Soil Conservation Co-operative Society was formed consisting of the upper-caste community who owned the forests. The executive committee was formed, consisting of 5 members who met twice a month. Some of the rules followed by them included:

1. Seasonal closure for grass production

2. Enumeration of trees for felling

3. Rotational closure within the forest

4. Complete ban on grazing 5. Control of forest fires

A full-time guard for the forest is appointed to catch any offenders. The lower castes (80 per cent of the village population) are allowed to take fuelwood for household use but have no participation or share in the income from forests. Ban workers (traditional rope-makers) are especially affected as they are not allowed to take bhabbar, which is auctioned to contractors.

Protected forests support many species of wild animals, particularly leopards. This cooperative has been useful for the members of the cooperative as it has led to improved management of the forests, economies of scale in sale of forest products and reduction in transaction costs. For the poor in the village, these forests provide a regular supply of fuelwood.

  This case study has been compiled based on a questionnaire answered by Akshay Jasrotia, Himalaya Bacho Samiti, Chamba, on 1 January 2001. We are extremely grateful to Satya Prasanna Bambam for helpful contributions and comments on the first draft.  

Inderjit Singh, Secretary
Soil Conservation Society, Panjawar
Village Panjawar, Tehsil Haroli,
Dist. Una, HP, 177208

Himalaya Bachao Samiti
Vill Kamla, PO Garnota
Sub-tehsil Sihunta
Chamba 175207 HP

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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