Thalli Village

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 Location Ecosystem Type   Conservation Type   Area(hectare) Legal status 
 Mandi, Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Conservation 35 Protected Forest

Case Study (2009)

Background

Thalli village is located at a distance of 45 km from Shimla town in the Karsog Taluka of Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh.

The landscape can be described as a typically Middle Himalayan mountainous region with forests having species like khair, Poplar or safeda, deodar, daru haridra, kakkad, khirik or toon, simbal, amla and sissoo. Amongst the fauna, jungle fowl and the Rhesus macaque are found here. The legal status of these forests is demarcated protected forest.

The dominant communities of the village are the rajputs, brahmins and banias. Besides these communities, the scheduled castes like kolis and chamars also live here. The total human population is 450. The main sources of income are agriculture, service and wage labor. The community depends on the forest for grass fodder, fuelwood, biomass and for material required for fencing. The total livestock population is 240 cows, 40 buffaloes, 30 sheep, 100 goats and 25 mules and horses. The villagers have legal rights for all households to fodder, grazing, fuelwood, timber, biomass and medicinal plants in the forest.

The conservation initiative began in 1993 after a violent conflict between the women of Thalli and the neighbouring village of Shakra over fodder. This incident and the fact that the women had to walk several kilometres for fodder, where they were also harassed by local villagers, motivated the mahila mandal (women’s organization) to work towards overcoming fodder scarcity. They began by closing the forest for grazing. Women took up protection of about 35 ha of forest.

For the protection of forests, some rules were established, which include:

1. Complete closure for grazing in the designated area.

2. Fodder to be collected only on specified days decided in a village general meeting.

3. Fodder to be collected in groups only and only one bundle of grass to be taken per family per day.

All disputes are dealt with within the community as per the traditional system of conflict resolution. There exists a general representative body for forest management, which meets irregularly, mostly when decisions about distribution and allocation of fodder have to be taken. The women are still very active in the protection and management of the forest

The protection of the forest has ensured that fodder scarcity does not exist in the village any longer. Closure to grazing for almost ten years has resulted in spectacular regeneration with many species returning to the area.

Due to the protection offered to the forest, the villagers have shifted the resource pressure to adjacent forests.

The Government of Himachal Pradesh decided to include Thalli village in the joint forest management scheme (JFM). As part of the micro-plans, construction of several bawdis (traditional water-harvesting structures) was proposed. However the villagers and the forest department got into a dispute over the constitution of the JFM committee. This has led to JFM here being a totally non-participatory process. This has created hostility between the people and the FD.

  This case study was compiled based on a questionnaire answered by Akshay Jasrotia, Himalaya Bachao Samiti, Chamba, on 20 April 2000. We are extremely grateful to Satya Prasanna Bambam for his helpful contribution and comments on the first draft.

Meera Sharma
Village and PO Thalli,
Via Sunni
Tehsil Karsog,
Dist. Mandi 171301, HP

Akshay Kumar
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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