Patharghara Village

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 Location Ecosystem Type   Conservation Type   Area(hectare) Legal status 
  Mayurbhanj, Odisha Forest Ecosystem Conservation Not Available Village Forest

Case Study (2009)

Background

Patharghara village is located in Chandua block of Mayurbhanj district in Orissa.

This village is adjacent to a patch of forest legally classified as village forest and falling under the jurisdiction of the revenue department.

The tribal communities residing in the village are mainly the santhal, bhuyan, dehuri (kharia) and kudumi people. The village is divided into three hamlets and falls under Patihinja Panchayat. Cultivation, daily wages and NTFP collection are among the main sources of income for this village.

The villagers of Patharghara have traditional access to the surrounding forests. Besides collections for subsistence, the villagers’ also use the forest for sericulture, which is a major source of income for the villagers. Over the years, with unregulated usage of the forest, coupled with the loss of forest cover in the neighbouring areas, much pressure was being exerted on this forest, and by 1986 the forest had already reduced to a few trees. 

In 1986, the forest department conducted a thinning and coppicing exercise in the forest area. After the thinning, the forest stood bare, and the villagers actually realized how little forest was left in the area.

The village then decided to initiate conservation of the forest. Initially, the two members from each hamlet were selected to patrol the area regularly. After some time this patrolling system weakened. Villagers then decided to form a forest protection committee and started protection with more enthusiasm.

The village forest protection committee was established in 1988 and a secretary and a president were elected. The committee has been functioning well since then. One person from each family is on the general body of the committee. This 66-member general body meets at regular intervals and takes all decisions related to forest protection and management. All regulations and rules are recorded by the committee in the Resolutions Register.

Decision-making is entirely male-dominated, while the involvement in protection varies from hamlet to hamlet. Benefits of protection are shared with all villagers equally, though those more dependent on the forest put in more effort towards protection. This creates slight inequity within the community.

The local community has benefited by the increase in income from NTFP and subsistence collection. The forest continues to be used for sericulture. Fire protection measures have helped many species to regenerate and enriched the ecosystem.

Equity in benefit-sharing has not been achieved among different communities. In order to bring in gender equity, a women’s self-help group has recently been formed with help of an NGO. This group is gradually beginning to take an active part in village meetings.

  This case study was contributed by Deepak Pani in the year 2000, when he was working with the organization MASS (Mayurbhanj Swechhasevi Samukhya). He now works with Gram Swaraj.

Deepak Pani
Secretary, Gram Swaraj,
Kamala Nehru Girls’ High School Road
Ward No. 16, Baripada
Mayurbhanj, Orissa 757001
Tel: 06792-259565/258511, 09437039565(M)
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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