|Number of households||175|
|Number of people||1700|
Tangi-Ranpur forest protection zone forms part of Khurda and Nayagarh districts in Orissa. Administratively, both of these places constitute development blocks. Both areas come under the Khurda Forest Division. The area has the unique feature of more than 100 self-initiated communities protecting their nearby forest patches. These areas mostly come under Reserve Forest which spreads over ten Reserve Forests such as Dhani, Patia, Kuhudi, Maninag, Sulia-A, Sulia-B, Satavaya, Nuapada, Gadabaniokilo - Sanakilo and Kunjer. In nearby Nayagarh protection zone, more than 300 villages are protecting and managing their forests. Village Gadabanikilo is well known as one of the four Garhs (forts) of the erstwhile Ranapur kingdom. It is situated in the Khairpalli Gram Panchayat of Ranpur block in Nayagarh district. The village can be approached from the National Highway linking Chandapur and Rajsunakhala. The neighbouring villages are: Giridharpur in the north west corner, Sanapathuria in the north, Gunduria in the North-East corner, Durgapur in the East, Khunta bandha in the South-East, and Sanakilo in the South. The village is immediately surrounded by 27 forest protecting villages, which fall under three forest protection clusters/zones in the area. The uniqueness of these three clusters is that all of them are very old protection systems. Of these villages, 11 villages initiated protection in the 60s, 14 villages in the 70s, only one village in 1988 and Gadabanikilo in 1940. The area under the protection of these villages varies from 80 ha. to 250 ha. The forest is mostly Reserve Forest with 20 villages protecting RF and only 7 villages involved in Revenue Forest protection. The forests in the vicinity of Gadabanikilo are the only ones in the region to have a significant number of Mahua(Madhuka longifolia). The forests of Gadabanikilo come under the dense Dry type mixed forests classification. The total area of the forest area protected by the villagers is about 300 hectares.
In the Gadabanikilo village there are about 175 households with a population of approximately 1700. The main caste/religious groups are Khandayat, Brahmin, Mali, Barika, Sundhi, Harijana and Muslim. The village consists of seven sahis (hamlets) - Gada Sahi, Sudra Sahi, Nua Sahi, Harijana Sahi, Mohammadian Sahi, Patna Sahi, College Sahi, and Nuagaon which are in close proximity to each other. The village is surrounded by a few tribal hamlets belonging to other villages. The tribals are highly forest dependent and play a major role in the whole process of forest protection. Irrespective of the differences in caste, creed and religion, the villagers express solidarity. The villagers belonging to different religions also participate in each other’s festivals. Gadabanikilo is dominated by households belonging to Khandayat caste. In their village level institutions’ there is maximum representation of Khandayat people. The overwhelming dominance of the Khandayat caste combined with a will to live harmoniously provides the village a high degree of unity. Majority of the villagers are agriculturists and they supplement their livelihoods by resources available in the forest. Many people in the village are in government and private jobs some of whom are very highly placed. The village, in the past, was strongly associated with the anti-British campaigns initiated by the Gaadjats in Odisha.
|Origin||New initiative by community|
|Year of Formation||-|
The village apex institution is called village committee that looks after all matters in the village. The village committee is functional since about 1940s when the King was ruling the Ranpur kingdom. In the past, apart from engaging in the village affairs, the village committee was organizing the Raja festival to maintain solidarity in the village and maintain unity as a village collective. One of the major functional sphere of the village committee was to oversee and ensure forest protection activities by the villagers. Initially the village committee was headed by the traditional leaders who inherited leadership hereditarily. The villagers established a temple where Baisiguntha deity is worshipped. The deity is revered highly and believed to be actively looking after the well-being of the village community. In major village level decisions, the deity is held witness to the decisions. Hence, all decision-making processes used to be held in the premises of the deity. Although there is no religious notion directly attached to the initiative of forest protection in the village, yet there are religious beliefs associated in one form or other. The villagers hold that when they thought of protecting the forest, all the villagers took oath in the premises of the Baisiguntha deity keeping the deity as witness. Since then they have been maintaining their promises to the deity and have been involving themselves in forest protection as one of the duties to the deity. Hence, the villagers usually do not violate or distract themselves from the forest protection norms believing that any deviation would invite the wrath and anger of the deity. This is how the forest protection activities are indirectly associated with the religious beliefs. The conservation initiatives are not based on traditional practices and belief systems except for the fact that they vowed at the deity to protect and manage the forests to maintain the deity’s environment. The memorized history of forest protection in Gadabanikilo dates back to the year 1940. The village is surrounded by forest on three sides and villages named Khairpalli, Sanapathuria, Badapathuria, Giridharpur, and Kila, on the other side. All the villages are located within a radius of 3-4 kms. For years, together the neighbouring villages enjoyed open access to the forests protected by Gadabankilo village committee. However, when the neighbouring villages started over exploiting the resources in the forests, the villagers of Gadabankilo wanted to put restrictions on them. They started restricting the people in neighbouring villages to extract resources from forest on which the Gadabankilo village exercised its ownership. The protection efforts were initiated by a group of people who informally came together and took up forest degradation as the major issue affecting community life. It came as more of a realization due to the massive degradation of the surrounding forests directly affecting the day to day life of the villagers because of reducing supply of resources from the forest.
1) The memorized history of forest protection in Gadabanikilo dates back to the year 1940
2) The efforts of 14 years of protection activities resulted in good regeneration of forests in the restricted patches as on 1954
3) New committee formed in 1955 and the Tailamala forest patch was opened for exploitation and cleaning of weeds to make space for regeneration
4) Till about year 2000 they employed two paid watchers for the forest. The rules pertaining to selection, election of committee members, collection and sharing of benefits as on today reflects a more equitable and just system
The primary reasons for initiating forest protection were directly related to the basic forest requirements such as NTFPs adequte availability of fuelwood etc. which became scarce due to massive degradation of forest. The needs that led to forest protection were more related to meet the requirements of the typical peasant household. According to some old men of the village, there was a time when the villagers felt acute scarcity of wood to cremate dead bodies. Such situation warranted the need for forest protection to meet most urgent common needs. Thus, efforts were made to get back the lost wealth (forest) by concerted efforts. Further, another important objective has been revenue generation from the forest to be utilized for critical developmental needs of the village.
|Collective of CCAs||-|
|Decision Making Body||executive committee|
|Rules and Regulations||Formal|
|Community activities through the year||Regulation of harvest|
From the very beginning till today, the forest protection in Gadabanikilo has continued through institutional mechanism. In the beginning it was very informal which in course of time became a formal institution. Over the years it has framed many rules and regulations and also have modified them time to time. Today, it follows specific rules for selection, election of members, penalty for the offenders, collection of fuelwood & other NTFPs and their equitable distribution, protection of the forest etc. Due to its capacity enhancement the committee which started with the primary task of forest protection has taken the shape of a full-fledged village committee. It also looks after other socio-economic & cultural activities in the village like organizing the Raja festival to maintain solidarity in the village and maintain unity as a village collective. There is significant contribution of women in the whole initiative. Women usually do not participate in regular issue - based meetings. However, in certain occasions the women groups conduct separate meetings for articulating their concerns (if any) on the matters of forest. After discussions, they share the proceedings with male members in the family which is ultimately brought to the notice of village vommittee. Usually they discuss the status of supply of fuel wood, tubers, NTFPs, interference by people from neighboring villages, etc. For the ultra poor families in the village there is little restriction on exploiting wild edibles for domestic consumption and as such there is no restriction on collection of NTFPs for the market without taking to over-exploitation means. This ensures their pro-active participation in the protection initiatives. Women SHGs create awareness among villagers about the right time for collection of forest produces.The committee extend support to the disadvantaged during times of death or marriage in the family, thereby trying to achieve equity between poor and rich. The Gram Panchayat Office, Block Office, Forest Range Office, and NGOs are other external institutions with which the villagers of Gadabankilo have direct and indirect interactions. The Nayagarh Jungle Mahasangha is campaigning and advocating in favour of community forest management in the area. The forest department is involving itself in provisioning for plantations and silvicultural operations. The relationship with the forest department is neutral and non-demanding. The Gram panchayat office being more attached to the villagers contribute to the cause indirectly. The villagers are of view that the elected representatives of the GP cooperate with them and give due priority to their village in matters of welfare programmes and projects. The collective actions of the villagers for forest protection, intra-village solidarity and their working relationship with formal institutions is appreciated from all quarters. Vasundhara is the only known NGO that used to work intensively with the villagers on the matter of forest protection, regeneration and facilitation of forest management. Although the ngo is not working intensively in the area today, yet it is facilitating the CFR claims and other entitlements relating to ownership of the village over the forest resources.
The village committee is led by seven members and it looks after the forest protection and other related matters. Even though the villagers make no such distinction, as such, the seven-member committee acts as the Executive body and the general body comprises of all the adult members of the community. There are no fixed sessions for both the bodies to meet. However, the general body sits I5 days before Raja festival (in June) basically to decide the arrangements for the celebration and to approve the income and expenditure account. However, it can meet any number of times in a year wherever its urgency is felt. The seven-member committee (Executive Committee) meets more frequently in a year. There is no fixed term for the Executive Committee. The members are free to resign on their own or the General Body can decide to terminate membership of any member of the EC if he is found not to be discharging his responsibilities. When such a vacancy exists, new members in the EC can be decided in the General Body. The membership is decided on selection basis and its number is not fixed. The overall charge of the forest rests with the committee. However, when protection in specific is referred to, it is directly related to the watcher system, that is being followed. Till 2010 there were two watchers appointed by the committee. They move in the forest and keep vigil over it. Any offender caught by the watchers used to be brought before the committee. At the time of Mahua collection and cleaning operations they played a major role in selecting the patch and keeping watch on the entire operation. Previously there was only one watcher who was appointed in 1950 and in the year 1962 another watcher was appointed.
Over a period, a set up rules and norms have evolved for protection, management, benefit sharing and conflict resolution related to forests. There are rule systems pertaining to collection and sharing of Mahua flowers and fruits; rules for silvicultural cleaning of forest patches; rules for cleaning Padar (open forests/ degraded lands); grazing rules; Sanskar (cremation) rules; rules restricting/governing felling of certain trees and exploitation of species, etc. i) Benefit sharing rules: There is clear rule systems on benefit sharing of certain forest produces, especially Mahua flowers and fruits from Mahua dominant forest patches. Mahua forest of Gadabanikilo is a valuable resource for the entire community. Mahua (flower & fruit) is the largest forest produce. The Mahua forest is situated on the west of the village and spreads over an area of 30 hectares. The status of the forest is Reserve Forest. The village committee has made a different set of rules for this patch of forest. There is both restricted and free access in the patch. Restrictions are imposed on cutting of Mahua trees and specific rules are there for collection and sharing of the produce. Apart from Mahua and Teak trees, there is free access in this patch for collection of fuel wood and grazing. There is no specific rules pertaining to the collection and sharing of Mahua flower. All the households are free to go to the forest and collect Mahua flowers during the season. However, the only rule is no one can collect flowers directly from the trees. It is only the flowers which fall on the ground are allowed to be collected. ii) Forest cleaning rules- cleaning refers to a sort of forestry operation which involves cutting/cleaning of the ground cover (less important or un-required species) and thinning and pruning of trees which have over grown in order to facilitate regeneration. Villagers widely use this word ‘cleaning’ whenever they cut tree branches or collect fuelwood in large scale by cutting unimportant species, sizing the grown up trees or similar activities. However, the committee has made a list of species which can be cut and which cannot. Forest protection in Gadabanikilo had its origin from the non-fulfilment of the basic forestry needs/requirements of the villagers, fuelwood being the foremost amongst them. Therefore, the village committee made elaborate arrangements with regard to fulfilment of basic needs from forest. Specifications regarding cleaning operations in different forest patches are another set of arrangement for meeting fuelwood requirements of the villagers. In the cleaning system two persons are allowed from each household and one block on each day goes for cleaning. They cut bushes from 7 A.M. to 12 P.M. for four days and whatever material is collected during this time they are free to take that. On the fifth day only those persons are allowed who have not participated in the cleaning operation on the earlier four days (with respect to their respective blocks). If they don't go on the fifth day then they would lose their turn. Specific and separate/plots are allotted to each block of individuals. Till 1995 the Committee collected Rs 2/- per cartload of cleaning material. The charges were hiked to Rs 15/- per cartload in 1996 in order to meet the requirement of money for salary of the watcher. iii) SANSKARA rules: The most disturbing experience of the villagers of Gadabanikilo during the days of forest degradation was non-availability of wood for funeral pyre. In course of time, the village committee has framed rules pertaining to the wood requirement for funeral. Species like Benta, Narigini and Telakarhuan catch fire easily and can be used almost directly after being cut. Therefore, the village committee has reserved these species exclusively for the purpose of funeral pyre. A person requiring wood for funeral can take any of these species directly from the forest without informing the village committee. The quantity of wood is not fixed and it depends on the quantity required. The village committee also allows the nearby villages to take wood for funeral with its permission. iv) Grazing is one of the most traditional activities which the villagers of Gadabanikilo have retained till today. This is a yearlong activity which, at present, takes place through seven groups of graziers in the village. There are four cow herds and three herds of goat and sheep. The grazing year starts from the Dola Purnima (Holi). Though there are no such rules making this activity caste bound, it is seen that mostly Gauda and Sahara caste people take up this activity in the village of Gadabanikilo. The entire forest patch which belongs to the village Gadabanikilo is free for grazing. The timing of grazing is from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. The graziers’ charges are paid in kind in consideration to the kind of livestock. For example, per cow with calf, the grazier charge is 8 Gouni (28 kg) paddy. Similarly, per cow without calf, it is 7 Gouni (24.5 kg) of paddy, per heifer it is 6 Gouni (21 kg) of paddy, per calf, it is 3 Gouni (10.5 kg) of paddy, per goat and sheep it is 6 Gouni (21 kg) of paddy. There are no specific/fixed rules set for punishing the forest offenders. However, the committee has evolved a set of informal rules and regulations which adequately explains the penalty system. As it goes from the very beginning, the committee fixes or decides a fine amount to be collected from each offender. However, it varies from case to case. There are also cases where the village committee had excused offenders considering genuine reasons. The records of the fine book is maintained by the committee. The penalty books are loosely maintained and it only shows the cases for few months in the year. There is only mention of the date, name of the offender, father’s name, nature of offence and the forest patch where offence has taken place. There is no record of the amount of penalty imposed for individual case.
There is free access in the entire forest as far as the collection of NTFPs, except Mahua (flower) and Tola (fruit). People from outside the village can also collect these items from the Gadabanikilo forest. However, there is restriction in the same patch with regard to cutting of big trees and collection of fuelwood. Therefore, the protection and management of forest in Gadabanikilo is maintained through both free as well as restricted access mechanisms.
|Legal Status||Forest Area under IFA → Reserve forest|
|Community Forest Resource Rights (CFR)||CFR claim filed and in process|
|Date of filing CFR claim||20-01-2010|
|Level of CFR claim||-|
|Date of recognition of CFR claim||-|
|Management plan status||-|
|Land Ownership||Government owned → Forest Department|
|Other Recognised Status||-|
|Impact on Livelihoods and Subsistence||Grazing, Firewood, Non-timber forest produce|
|Social Impacts||Revival or continuation of cultural/religious associations|
|Ecological Impact||Good diversity and population of wildlife|
|Internal Threats and Challenges||-|
|External Threats and Challenges||Restrictive laws and policies|
Since the initiation of protection activities from the 1940s, the status of biodiversity has improved tremendously in the forest due to the efforts of the community. People expect that the quality of flora and fauna will grow further in future. Many varieties of endemic vegetation that were sort of lost have been restored. Remarkable is that the NTFP wealth of the forest has increased due to least interference of people, low exploitations and the habitat management. Some patches of the forest produced different types of NTFPs after prolonged protection. The major NTFPs available in the forest are Harida, Bahada, Aonla, Chiraunjee, Tendu leaves, Nux vomica, and Bael. Bael (Aegle marmelos) is eaten raw or made in to sherbet. Harida, Bahada and Aonla are used locally for medicinal purpose. There is a market for Harida in the state. But in the absence of private middlemen, this market is not exploited. In the recent past Harida was extracted under a purchase agreement with a private agent but the system broke down because of cheating by the purchaser. Bahada has very little market potential and hence is not harvested. The forest protection activities have made the village communities behave as an endowed social capital. Culturally, keeping the forest at centre, they observe various festivals and functions throughout the year that contributes to solidarity in village. Economically, the villagers are getting varieties of NTFPs for domestic consumptions and market demands, and the supplies from the forest has increased. The forests of Gadabanikilo are a source of livelihood for a large number of tribal households residing in the nearby villages. The tribal women are head-loaders and are considered as enemies of the forest by the villagers. However, NTFP collection by the tribals is freely allowed. A lot of the NTFP collections are not a competitive resource use for the villagers as they do not collect and market those NTFPs. This is caused by various factors like higher income levels, a feeling that NTFP collection is an inferior activity, as also by lack of skills. Sustainable management of resources has become a catch word in recent times. More and more people are realizing its importance. The necessity of teaching local people about sustainable management of resources is obtaining support from more and more quarters. The villagers of Gadabanikilo have shown the way through their work. The way the forest divided into patches for fulfilling various needs is indeed an example of a most scientific system. The uncleaned patch serves the purpose of protecting the forest from intruders through a dense vegetative fencing. The immediate effect of an overgrown and thorny outer boundary of a forest patch has been on the whole rather beneficial to the health of the forest. The uncleaned patch also maintains a very high degree of species diversity, thus serving greater ecological needs. The Cleaned patch serves the firewood and small-timber requirements of the people in a continuous manner. The Mahua patch provides the people with the major NTFP that provides a major item of food and also significant income generation potential. The Padar patch seems to be overexploited but not without reason. The Padar patch has provided the necessary breathing space for the other patches to develop their potential. Now that the three patches are well stocked and able to sustain grazing and firewood pressures, the Padar patch is also getting a slight respite as the utilization pressure, especially the grazing pressure, has been eased to a significant extent.
i) Livelihood benefits is the most important factor supporting conservation
ii) Media attention on peoples’ initiatives bringing reputation to the village
iii) The collective action of the village communities in restoring the forests through rotational resource use mechanisms.
iv) Strong leadership and community solidarity
v) Consideration of equity in resource allocation and utilization.
The Gadabankilo village is one of the first applicants for CFR claim settlement as they have applied for claim settlement since 2010. In the meanwhile the process of claim making has been completed but the village is yet to receive the title. It is a challenge for the village committee and its leadership to mobilise the government authorities for quick granting of the title. The villagers also look forward to put up remarkable forest management practice during the post title grant phase. The reputation that the village has earned over the years for good practice in community forest management is seen as challenge and opportunity simultaneously. Restricting neighbouring villages from fuelwood collection is still seen as a challenge on grounds of emotional and socio-cultural exchanges. The villagers allow exploitation of their forest by the neighboring villages for meeting domestic requirements, but feel concerned about the loads of extraction. They see it a challenge to gradually reduce the dependency of neighboring villages.
The community desires to shift from forest protection to forest management to maintain the sustainable supply of forest produces.
|Data Source||By external entity with permission of community member|
|Year of Study||-|