|Category of CCA||Defined|
|Number of households||154|
|Number of people||481|
Koska is a small village located about 12 Km from the district headquarters Nayagarh. The name of the forest patch is Ghantulei Khasra which the villagers have been protecting even long before 1970. It is also noteworthy to mention here that officially Ghantulei is a village but there is no habitation as of now and the area is part of the forest fringe that Koska is protecting. The forest is dense in vegetation and is home to many kinds of endemic tree species like Sal, Piasal, Sissoo, Bandhan, Mahula, etc that forms the canopy and climax.
Scheduled caste constitutes 15.8% and there are no ST communities. Out of the total population, 56.9% of workers describe their work as Main work (Employment or Earning more than the duration of 6 Months) while 43.1% were involved in marginal activity providing livelihood for less than 6 months. The villagers are mainly agriculturists, most of the households being small farmers who apart from meeting the domestic consumption needs generate some surplus of agricultural produce for sale in the market. The marginal farmers supplement their livelihood needs with collection and processing of Non Timber Forest Produces (NTFP) available in the local forests. Forest products supplement the requirements of a basic living in many ways. While some families in the village exhibit marginal dependency on forest produce, some exhibit a contingent mode of dependency. Hardly there is any family who depend on forests for subsistence needs.
|Origin||Revived by community initiative|
|Year of Formation||-|
Before 1970, when the Maa Ghantulei Jungle Surakshya Committee was conceived, villagers had been conserving the same forest but it never followed any guiding rule system. When people realized shortage of essential forest products for their domestic consumption they started protecting the resources for perpetuity. Also seeing that the forests in nearby areas are depleting in status and foreseeing that in coming days other villagers might pilfer in the forests of Koska, the villagers felt that a committee at the village level was necessary to deal with protection activities and related negotiations. The year 1970 marks the cornerstone of the documented initiatives of the village community in forest protection and management by conservation. The villagers in Koska have formed a Village Forest Protection Committee in the name of Maa Ghantulei Jungle Suraksha Committee that has been overseeing forest conservation and utilization since 1970. Community ownership over the Ghantulei Hill forest and collective responsibility for protection and management has been the key factor in building cohesiveness among the villagers. Village Koska is one of the few pioneering villages who established norms and traditions of community forest management long before the concepts of participatory forest management was officially introduced in the State. The ownership and responsibility inculcated a sense of accountability among the villagers, a reflection of which is seen in volunteering for activities like patrolling, conflict minimization, ensuring equal share among villagers, protecting trees and other vegetation in the forest.The community initiatives towards forest protection emerged out of collective realization of crises of forest products for minimum needs at domestic level. Since the initiative is largely addressed to securing resources for generations, all the villagers identify their role as resource appropriators and so resource protectors. Hence, the effort that was initiated was maintained and frequent processes were modified to suit the situations. The neutral leadership is always acknowledged for having made selfless contributions in maintaining the spirit of the villagers.
The main objective of forest conservation was to ensure sustainable supply of forest produces to the households in perpetuity
|Collective of CCAs||Yes|
|Decision Making Body||Others → Forest protection committee|
|Rules and Regulations||Formal|
|Community activities through the year||Patrolling, watch and ward|
The Nayagarh Jangal Surakhya Mahasangha, the apex body of federation of forest protection committees all over the district provided support in terms of negotiating stakes between villages, establishing linkages with the NGOs who were handling advocacy on issues related to community forest management.
In May, 1971 the village forest protection committee was created as ‘Maa Ghantulei Jungle Surakshya Committee’ and a 5 member management committee was constituted with Basudev Nayak as President. The Committee firmly resolved that hunting and poaching shall be fully restricted; also resolved that cleaning of forest floor from climbers, bushes, etc. would be done at intervals. Subsequently, resolution was made to provide equal share of small timber, pole, bamboo to all families in the village; resolved that there would be provisioning of small timbers, poles and bamboo to people from outside villages affected by disasters (like house gutted with fire, house ruined by storm or flood) and also for special purposes like community festival, marriage, etc (remaining subject to justification for quantity required). Some new representatives were elected to the management committee after 5 years of operation and further amendment to the rule system was made and it ratified punishment systems to offenders (for theft and pilfering forest). In the year 1982, a new management committee was formed. In the year 1995, the management committee was reconstituted with a seven member management committee and five member advisory committee. The rules and regulations were revisited. With that the shift from informal practice to formal practice happened. Biswanath Barad was elected as the president. In the same year, Koska village bagged the Prakriti Mitra award from the State. The whole village under the leadership of various persons over the years are involved in the developments so far. One deficiency is clearly observed in the democratic functioning of the committee. Women are not seen as active participants in village meetings. As women also had rendered a major role in this effort as they themselves have recognized their effective role, that they should be taken as office bearers in the committee which is not seen in the existing processes within the forest committee. It is also observed that only middle-aged members from each household are currently involved in the conservation initiatives as most of the youth are currently working in cities. The communities expect the youth groups to return and settle in the villages in the near future and maintain and manage the forest wealth and also to take responsibility for the conservation of their forest. The conservation initiative is self initiated and the whole village community contributed to the whole process since the beginning. No outside agency was ever associated. However, the Nayagarh Jangal Surakhya Mahasangha, the apex body of federation of forest protection committees all over the district provided support in terms of negotiating stakes between villages, establishing linkages with the NGOs who were handling advocacy on issues related to community forest management. The Forest Department and the local NGOs did not play any role in any kind of intervention. The community did not seek the assistance of the Forest Department for forest conservation. However, they involved the Forest Department when there was a conflict between two villages on matters of exercising rights over forest resources. Sometimes the forest protection committee takes help from the forest department for saplings to undertake gap filling plantations. Local NGOs create awareness among the youths to take part in the conservation process. The villagers also acknowledge the Police department for indirectly contributing to building solidarity. Say, when two parties are in conflict on forest protection matters and one party approaches the police then the police advise the parties to discuss at village level respecting the set norms and rule systems. In that way the police department is considered an indirect factor towards ratifying the rule systems.
The constitution of Maa Ghantulei Jungle Surakshya Committee was brought into effect formally from April, 1995. It was discussed and declared in the village assembly. The old management committee was dissolved; a seven-member management committee and a five member advisory committee with Basudev Nayak as President was constituted.
The village has exhibited a very well framed self-governance ideal. Till a long time since 1970 when the process came to limelight there was an informal rule system governing the behavior of the villagers with their forest. In course of time the village committee framed a constitution for governing the affairs related to forest protection. Apart from that, self-governance is abided strictly by following rule systems. Rule systems once ratified have scope for modifications over time responding to new issues and requirements. Most part of the rule system has remained unchanged yet certain clauses have also been amended as per realized/emerging requirements. Since most of the rule systems have remained unchanged, people have been much used to regulated behaviour as dictated by rules. However, the existing rule systems that is largely practiced are the following- 1) If somebody’s house is gutted by fire then he must apply to the committee for provisioning of timbers, poles, bamboo, etc. The committee, by order, can grant a maximum of 6 poles and required quantity of bamboo and small shafts, per one room. The provisioning multiplies with the number of rooms in the gutted house. The same quantity is also permissible to anybody within the village or outsider whose house was gutted by fire. 2) All the households in the village and also needy people from neighboring villages can collect fallen and dry wood from the forest for domestic requirements. There would remain no restriction on these daily collections as it is a matter subject to availability. 3) The villagers can go for silvicultural operations in the forest under protection once or twice in a year after an assessment of the productivity of the forest. The silvicultural operations mean bush cutting of invasive species, climber cleaning, lopping, thinning, bamboo harvesting, etc. After getting approval of the committee such operations are done. Each household who is a member of the forest committee can get 20 bamboos, and equal share of all other cuts and slashes. If anybody would require more bamboo then he must seek the approval of the village forest committee and pay the additional cost as would be decided by the committee. 4) Silvicultural operations would be done under supervision of the village forest committees. All the cuts and slashes would be piled up at several places in equal shares for forest committee member households. Then the stocks would be assigned with numbers and the households would also be assigned numbers. Then the entitled household would fetch the stock that matches to the number assigned to them. For example, household numbered 1 would fetch the stock numbered 1. This way any conflict over quantity is avoided. 5) There is no restriction for gathering seasonally available NTFPs. People of the village and from neighboring villages are given free access to gather NTFPs. However, care must be taken not to harm the trees or sources producing NTFPs. The village committee and the patrolling personnel must keep vigil on NTFP collection. 6) Thengapali: This is the most important of all and that has also emerged as a tradition in the village and also in the entire area. Thenga is a bamboo club/wooden shaft that the patrolling personnel use to safeguard the forests from pilferage and smuggling. It also symbolizes the community's authority. Every day two people from two families must go to Thengapali. Every evening Thenga is placed in front of the house of the person who is responsible for forest protection on the succeeding day. Then the concerned person must go to the forest and continue patrolling. If he has any unavoidable circumstances for which he can not do patrolling on the particular day then he must informally and mutually exchange terms for patrolling. If a person did not arrange to send somebody else and did not go himself for patrolling then it becomes a matter of concern for which punishment shall be made. On the other hand, if the person who was supposed to place the Thenga in front of the house of the other family could not place it for some reason by the evening, then the former would be held responsible and receive punishment. The village as a whole would also keep a vigilant eye on the forest and come out collectively to protect the patrolling persons, if any such circumstances arise. Anybody who detects any theft or irregularity in the forest must inform others and all villagers present at that time are duty-bound to respond immediately. In case of irregularity in doing Thengapali persons held guilty would be levied with a penalty ranging from Rs. 50/- to Rs. 100/-. 7) All the revenue earned from punishment and penalty shall be deposited in the account of the village forest committee. In Koska the committee has a deposit of about Rs. 20,000/-. 8) Special provisions: Since the villagers are mainly agriculturists, they often require a special kind of wood to make agricultural implements like plough, yoke, etc. In such cases, when a demand comes from 5-7 villagers then the committee decides to fell a tree to provide to the needs of those who need it. In that case, a tree is chosen, its valuation is done in monetary terms. If it was a Sal tree then the valuation goes up to Rs. 1500/- to Rs. 2000/-. Other trees like Piasal cost more. As per the valuation by the committee, the farmers who need it eposit the fixed amount and fell the tree for their use. The wood is shared among those who needed the same. Fellow feeling: The forest protecting communities identify themselves as members of a large forest family. Participating in forestry activities is no less than an important ritual. In important occasions in the neighborhood during distress situations, the forest protecting villages help each other in all possible ways on humanitarian grounds. The attitude of villagers to the rule systems has always been positive, cooperative, cohesive and proactive. The neutral leadership is always acknowledged for having made selfless contributions in maintaining the spirit of the villagers. Further, what largely contributed to maintaining the spirit is the transparency and accountability in all affairs relating to protection activities, sanctions, rewards and above all funds management although due records are not always maintained. If anybody is found involved in illegal cutting of trees without prior permission of the village committee, the offender is charged a penalty of Rs. 50 and Rs. 500 for the cutting of small and large trees respectively. Anybody who detects any theft or irregularity in the forest must inform others and all villagers present at that time are duty-bound to respond immediately. In case of irregularity in doing Thengapali persons held guilty would be levied with a penalty ranging from Rs. 50/- to Rs. 100/-.
|Legal Status||Forest Area under IFA → Unclassed forest|
|Community Forest Resource Rights (CFR)||-|
|Date of filing CFR claim||-|
|Level of CFR claim||-|
|Date of recognition of CFR claim||-|
|Management plan status||-|
|Land Ownership||Government owned → Forest Department, Government owned → Others|
|Other Recognised Status||award by ngo/govt. agency|
The villagers have good awareness about laws and policies regarding wildlife, environment management and state level policies. The contrasts between Joint Forest Management and Community Forest Management is very well known to all the villagers. Usually, the leaders in the village actively participate in the meetings of Nayagarh Jungle Mahasangha where they discuss the Acts, Policies and the way they should respond to such legislations. The leaders share the discussion points with the villagers after returning from the meetings.
|Impact on Livelihoods and Subsistence||Firewood|
|Social Impacts||Empowerment of women/youth/disadvantaged sections|
|Ecological Impact||Good diversity and population of wildlife, Improved/sustained ecological services|
|Internal Threats and Challenges||Over-harvesting from within the community|
|External Threats and Challenges||-|
The impact of conservation initiatives of the community was quite visible during the forest visit. A number of old, tall and large sized trees of different species could be seen. The existence of such species is a testimony of vigilant protection by the community over a period of time. The floral diversity comprises kinds of endemic tree species like Sal, Piasal, Sissoo, Bandhan, Mahula, etc that forms the canopy and climax. Medicinal plants like Bhuin neem, Amla, Harida, Bahada, Katha, Jhuna and many more are found in this forest. Fauna Comprises Wild Boar, bear, Gayal, elephant, deer, Sambar, Kutura,wolf, jackal, monkey, rabbit, peafowl, rats (like Nepuri, Common Rat), Saliapatini, fox, mongoose, Porcupine, Bajrakapta and snakes (Rana, Cobra, Rat Killer, Python etc). Birds observed in the forest include Parrot,Mina,Cuckoo, Wild Hen, Kite and owl. Continuous efforts towards forest conservation by the community have generated favourable results. Impact of conservation not only in economic terms but also in terms of ecological enrichment and impact on the wellbeing of the community. Deep rooted plants and dense canopy in the forest area check soil erosion and improve moisture retention. Hence, forest conservation has resulted in reduction in soil erosion, increase in biomass of the region, improved groundwater level and annual rainfall. Forest is now also proving to be an additional source of income for the marginalized and landless families through sale of forest products. Improvement in fuel wood supply from the forest has also reduced household expenses on purchase of the same from the market. Neighbouring villages are also allowed to collect fuel wood, fruits, dry leaves and branches for field fencing. Village Koska has in a way pioneered the community initiatives around forest protection by building motivation and inspiring other villages in the cluster also. This is also widely acknowledged. In fact, Koska initiated the process that encouraged 16 other villages in the neighborhood, who came together for forest protection. In later times the 16 neighboring villages formed the cluster level committee called Anchalika Hatimunda Jungle Surakhya Committee. Through the development, the entire Hatimunda forest could be accorded protection. Regular gatherings and meetings as a part of the protection mechanism have helped in developing a sense of solidarity and unity among the villagers.
The villagers have relatively good knowledge of the biodiversity and its values and hence follow care and share philosophy in maintaining the forest.
1) The youth in the village have taken up different occupations and vocations for livelihoods earning. However, they are quite concerned about the developments in forest protection activities. The direct and indirect involvement of the youth in the protection activities builds the potential for leveraging on available opportunities for sustainable forest management. 2) Open forest areas need to be protected by fencing (live fencing, thorn fencing) to reduce the external pressure of harvesting and grazing. 3) The villagers are managing their forests without taking any external aid. To keep up the management rigour without accepting external aid in future poses a challenge. There are opinions from the villagers that the village corpus fund should be strengthened by accepting external aid for activities with matching objectives.
Future plan of the community is to create awareness about forest conservation among youths, negotiating with govt., private players and NGOs for employment generation for youths, forward linkage of forest products which will help women and SHGs to get actual price of the product.
|Data Source||By external entity with permission of community member|
|Year of Study||-|