Land pressure, increased population and economic upscaling of the community have resulted in the rampant extraction of forest resources in this area. The village had a traditional communityreserved forest which was seen as a common property resource reserved for people to use in emergency. But sustainable management aspects or conservation principles were not employed while extracting the resources. There were certain regulations but these were practically never enforced or implemented. Due to these social and other pressures, the local forests and community reserves were severely depleted in most of the accessible areas, except deep ravines and other difficult areas. It is in this context that NERCORMP-IFAD1 came to this village in 2004.
NERCORMP-IFAD constituted a natural resource management group (NaRMG) from within the community. Orientation and sensitization programmes were organized, which included, need for revitalization of the village reserved forest, new challenges faced by the community, need for economic development through increased conservation, among others. The NaRMG leaders also attended a natural resource management (NRM) sensitization workshop conducted by Senapati District Community Resource Management Society (SEDCORMS), the project implementing agency of NERCORMP-IFAD in Senapati district. The leaders realized the importance of natural resource management. They then initiated a dialogue with the members of the traditional village institution, looking after the village land and all natural resources. All the members of the village institution were eventually convinced of the need and importance of revitalizing the village forest reserves.
During the resource mapping and land use planning exercise the community found that it was very important to have a certain portion of the forest as protected for future use as the forest resources are on the decline while population is fast increasing. The NaRMGs in consultation with the traditional village authority declared the following forests as reserve area and designated it as community conserved area (CCA).
1. Community reserve forest at Ting Ngai Vai Pou
2. Cane or rattan germplasm reserve at Tommaina river bank
According to the villagers the reasons for conserving these areas include the following:
1. The area has a good growth of cane or rattan which are becoming extinct in other areas due to overexploitation.
2. To gain respect from the surrounding villages for their reserve forest.
3. To regulate and prohibit indiscriminate cutting of trees by individuals without permission of the village authority.
4. To frame rules and regulations applicable to all the villagers irrespective of their position and status.
5. To regulate and prohibit hunting and fishing by outsiders in their area.
6. To conserve forest for future use.
7. To conserve water which is crucial for terrace cultivation.
8. To regulate collection of non-timber forest produce (NTFP).
The NaRMG and the traditional village authority constituted from amongst their members a reserve forest management committee (RFMC), which is empowered to settle forest related disputes.
The rules and regulations were framed on the basis of the customary laws and traditional practices, which are widely accepted by the community. The rules and regulations were passed in the meeting on the 10th of September 2004 along with the penalties and fines for violations. It was decided that, if need be, the rules and regulations could be amended during the village annual meetings. The fines and penalties in this NaRMG are very low as compared to other NaRMGs because of less conflicts in this village.
The fines and penalties on the defaulters as per their resolution no. 2, dated 10/9/04 are:
a. Cutting of trees = Rs 500/-
b. Setting of fire = Rs. 500/-
c. Hunting of animal = Rs. 1000/-
However the forest management committee may increase or decrease the fines depending on the degree of violation and the intention of the defaulter. The rules and regulations are pro-poor as they do allow poor families to collect honey, dead wood, mushroom, medicinal plants and collection of cane and rattan saplings for sale during the season.