|Category of CCA||Defined|
|Number of households||65|
|Number of people||400|
Kesiapalli is a small non-tribal village and is as old as 200 years or more as per oral information of the community members. The village is well connected by road from the Ranpur block headquarters. Village Kotapokhari is situated on the Eastern side of the village. The un-inhabited village Nirakarpur and Sulia (B) reserve forest lies to the west of the village. The village has connectivity with Sunakhala through a PWD road at the western side. To the North lies the boundary of the Kulasar village. On the Southern side lies the forest boundary of Kotapokhari and Arakhapalli village. In general, the village Kesiapalli is surrounded by neighboring villages like Kulasar, Nilapalli, Arakhapalli, Benudharpur. The village is connected by a cement concrete road with the main road, it has a primary school, it is electrified,it also has a Bhagabat ghar (community house), and two hand pump tube wells for drinking water. The Anganwadi Centre is located in the village Arakhapalli, while the ANM centre, Livestock Inspector Office, Secondary school are located in Kulasar village. Sunakhala is the nearest market for the village.
According to the voter list of the village there are 295 voters. Except two families who belong to the Mali Caste (Non-brahmin priests), all the remaining families belong to Khandayat Caste (cultivators). The Khandayat families are known with six surname groups like Parida, Nayak, Pradhan, Patra, Samantaray and Baliarsingh. The Nayak surname holders make the dominant population in the village. Most of the families continue to be joint families except a few who have nuclear family units.
|Year of Formation||-|
During the year 1980, the villagers formed a forest protection committee in Kesiapalli. However, around 1984 conflict with the people of Kotapokhari village on the issue of construction of a village road led to the collapse of the community initiative to protect the forest. The conflict led to fragmentation of the Sulia Reserve Forest. In the year 1985, the entire Sulia Reserve forest was divided and demarcated among the four villages, Arakhapalli, Kotapokhari, Kulasara and Kesiapalli. Arakhapalli and Kotapokhari villages protected and managed a patch of forest jointly. Kesiapalli and Kulasara protected two patches of forests jointly. The Jungle Manch or the federation of the Forest Protection Committees (FPC) intervened through its conflict resolution sub-committee of which Sri Narasingha Das is the convener. By his personal initiatives and the institutional intervention of the conflict resolution sub-committee, the conflict was resolved. Just around India’s independence, the forest was fairly dense. Some elderly people like Dhaneswar Baral and Balabhadra Parida mentioned that there were trees in the forest which had a girth of 7 to 8 feet. These large trees were felled and harvested by the forest department for timber trading. Due to massive timber harvesting by the Forest department, the villagers apprehended that one day the Sulia Reserve would be completely degraded. Hence, the community members decided to protect the forest by exercising their customary rights over the forest. Thus, the forest protection initiatives of the local community started, which dates back to about 40-50 years. The people were more dependent on the forest than today for meeting their agricultural and household needs. For agricultural implements like ploughs and bullock carts, the community members required regular supply of wood from forest. Certain NTFPs like Harida, Bahada, Amla, Jhumpuri, Beta, Bela, Kankana, Katakal, Mahul, Jhuna, fruits, roots and tubers are collected by the villagers for both domestic consumption and sale in market. They also needed timbers to build their houses. They started guarding the forest collectively with each individual household sharing the responsibility.
1) village more than 200 years old
2) Around 1980, FPC was formed by the villagers
3) conflict with the people of Kotapokhari village led to the collapse of the community initiative
4) in 1985, the entire Sulia Reserve forest was divided and demarcated among the four villages, Arakhapalli, Kotapokhari, Kulasara and Kesiapalli.
The Sulia Reserve forest provided with the basic needs of the locals. The landless people in the village and from the neighbourhood exclusively or on a subsistence mode depended on the forest for wild edibles, NTFP and other seasonal harvests for sale in market. The other villagers depended on a marginal and contingent mode on the forest resources. Invariably all the households in the village depended on the reserve forest and adjoining scrublands for fuel wood. For agricultural implements, construction materials and other necessities in their material culture, they depended on the forest. The forest fringe areas provided adequate resource for livestock grazing. Thus, the livelihood and economic reasons were the major drivers for forest conservation during the initial days of the forest protection activities. In later course of time, the conservation initiative was centring around the ascertaining and securing of customary rights over the forest resources. The villagers put up to negotiate with the neighboring villages about exercising their customary rights over the said patch of forest. Through negotiations they could delineate the patches of forest that is now under their protection and thus maintained their customary access and exercised their rule systems over the said patches. Over the years, through protecting the forest primarily for livelihoods and economic reasons, the villagers could realize appreciable development in biomass and diversity. Their exposure to the outer world through the federation of forest protection committees helped them understand the biodiversity agenda in their management practice. Thus, they started exercising limitations on extraction of resources from the forests in order to do justice to the endemic biodiversity. As per the villagers, when they adhered to the principles of limited exploitation norms they realized that many kinds of weeds filled in the forest gap areas. So, they took steps to eradicate weeds by exploiting them for fuel. In course of time the endemic species took over the weeds and more of forest species could be regenerated.
|Collective of CCAs||Yes|
|Decision Making Body||JFM committee , Others → Forest protection committee|
|Rules and Regulations||Informal|
|Community activities through the year||-|
The village level forest protection committees in Nayagarh district formed an apex federation of forest protection committees which is popularly known as Jungle Manch. Formation of the federations at the regional and state levels has strengthened the Community Forest Management in the entire state, and more particularly in Nayagarh District. The meetings of the block level federation are held twice in a month; a meeting of the women representatives on 18th of every month; and a General meeting of the federation with both men and women representatives of forest protection committee is held separately. It was found that the women of Kesiapalli village do not attend the meetings of the federation. But the members of the executive committee of the FPC regularly attend the federation meetings and also get the latter’s guidance in matters relating to protection and management of forests.
The villagers of Kesiapalli, irrespective of caste and economic status are fully involved in the initiatives of forest protection. In the beginning, the villagers of Kesiapalli along with the villagers in the neighbourhood were jointly protecting the Sulia Reserve Forest. However, certain issues came up in coordination and rights settlement issues. The Jungle Manch or the federation of the Forest Protection Committees took the initiatives to facilitate, strengthen and coordinate the forest protection activities in Kesiapalli. The forest protection activities is a village affair and irrespective of caste, gender, age, economic status, all are involved in the process. As per prevailing norms of protection activities both men and women share equal responsibilities. The women in particular, remain more vigilant about the forest matters although they don’t assume responsibility as office bearers in the forest protection committee. It is generally believed by the villagers of Kesiapalli and also by the elders of neighbouring villages that the youngsters of the village play an active role in all spheres of village life such as helping their families in agricultural operations, observing ceremonies and festivals and protecting the forest. The norms ratified by the forest protection committee ensures the involvement and participation of all sections of people in the village. The Gram panchayat office, Block office, Forest range office, Tehsil, Police station, Financial institutions, Forest federations and networks, SHGs and NGOs like Vasundhara are other external institutions with which the villagers of Kesiapalli have direct and indirect interactions. Traditionally the village communities’ perception about functioning of government is shaped by their experience of interaction with the Revenue officials, forest officials, police personnel, and the development functionaries mostly functioning under the Block administration. There has been little change in this equation over the decades after independence.
DECISION MAKING SYSTEMS
The decision making process in the village is democratic, institutional and rational although no strict constitutional norm is followed in case of women representation as office bearers in the committees or institutions. The women as office bearers of institutions or committees in certain cases are guided by prescriptive guidelines, as in case of School management committee or Forest Rights Committee. There are different types of committees in the village that take decisions on different matters of the village, be it social or developmental. The community institution established for the initiatives of forest protection and conservation is the village forest protection committee. i) Village Forest Protection Committee: The forest protection committee is the oldest institution in the village that was started as an informal body which in due course became a formal body. Earlier, the committee was led by three persons selected through consensus. The Kesiapalli FPC has a General body and an Executive committee. The General body is represented by members from each household. The Executive committee has four members including the President and the Secretary. There are no women members in the Executive Committee. The forest which is protected by the villagers is known as Sulia Reserve Forest (B). It was considered the most important committee in the village till the village development committee was set up. The forest protection committee has its own set of norms and rules governing the protection of the forest and use of forest resources equitably and sustainably. These rules and norms evolved over a period of time, through democratic processes, and have been stabilized as on now. Currently, alike the development committee, the forest protection committee meets less frequently, confident in the knowledge that the forest is well protected. However, the committee meets when the need arises. This committee does not have any women representation. The traditional web of relationship, especially the avoidance relationship among kin members, comes on the way of women representation in the informal committee. ii) Village Development Committee: The institution is relatively recent and has been set up to look into development matters in the village. The committee coordinates with the GP and Block. Along with taking up various development initiatives, it also manages the village common fund. It is a 12 member committee nominated by the entire village community. The committee which has an omnibus mandate does not have women representatives. The Village Development Committee has an inclusive agenda and the forest protection activities are also discussed at same importance alike other development matters. It appears this committee meets more frequently and therefore handles matters relating to conflicts and their resolution. iii) Forest Rights Committee (FRC): This is a formal committee set up under provisions contained in the Scheduled Tribes and Other traditional Forest Dwellers (recognition of Rights) Act, 2006. The committee is responsible for preparing and validating claims for recognition of individual and community forest rights. It is a formal committee with representation of women.
Rules and regulations governing forest use and management has been there in the village since last two and half decades. The rule system is informal but shared commonly, ratified and adhered. What the villagers find good about their rule system is that they are suitable for all sections of the community, simple, easy to understand and follow and there is every scope for amendments and modifications whenever need arises. However, the FPC is not meeting regularly although it was being done very frequently in the beginning. Reasons cited thereof indicate that the villagers have been adhering to the rules and regulations religiously and the issues warranting meetings have subsided over years. However, the FPC sits when need arises and the issues are discussed with participation of a majority. No record is maintained regarding rights and responsibilities of the members of the FPC. Conventions and traditions are maintained in this respect. The responsibility of guarding the forest follows a roster. If someone fails to turn up for duty because of any exigency, the responsibility passes on to the next family or person. The roster is locally known as “Thengapalli”. A Thenga or stick is put in front of a house every day along with a register with the name of the person whose duty it is to keep a watch on the forest on a particular day. If he fails to do the duty, he passes on the responsibility to the next person in the roster by putting the register and the stick in front of the latter’s house. This system is known as “Dian Badala”. This system works smoothly and without any hiccup. There has been no issues regarding the attitude of villagers to the set rules. As the elderly community members observed, the rule system has been evolved through democratic decision-making concerning the needs of the village. Since nobody is deprived from anything and nobody is privileged for anything, the common attitude of people to the rule systems is positive. There have been smaller issues like some individual difference over share of forest collections but that in no way contributed to building of any negative attitude towards the rule systems. All decisions regarding collection of forest produce are taken by the village committee of Kesiapalli. The forest produce is primarily used for subsistence purposes with negligible commercial use. There are also restrictions on collection of forest products. Offending persons are given warning for the first time, but are penalized for repeat transgression. If information found about theft from the forest, the emergency meeting of the committee is convened and actions are taken accordingly. Such incidences were happening occasionally before the Sulia Reserve Forest was divided among the neighbouring villages. The village has maintained no record of such incidences that happened in the past. However, after the distribution of the reserve forest for management by different forest protection committees in neighbourhood villages, there has been rare instances of violations. It is so because, each village religiously respected and adhered to their rule systems and the rule systems of neighbouring villages. Discussions with villagers resulted in understanding that if they come across any violations then they would first discuss it at village level for negotiations and later take the matter to forest department or police considering the gravity of situation.
MANAGEMENT AND RESOURCE USE
The most important forest produce that people of the village obtain is firewood. The trees available in the forest cover a wide range of species such as Mahua, Piasal, Kendu, Bahada, Anla, Harida, Bhalia, Bel etc. A kind of tuber locally known as pichhuli is available in the forest which people use as a food item. The tuber is collected and sold in the market whose current sale price stands at about Rs. 50/- per kg. So far as other forest produces are concerned, they are collected by families depending on their need but not for selling them in the market. Non-commercial use of the forest produces is based on the shared understanding that marketing of the products may lead to over-exploitation of the resource. The total available quantity of different forest products was not ascertained and no such records are maintained either. Certain NTFPs like Harida, Bahada, Amla, Jhumpuri, Beta, Bela, Kankana, Katakal, Mahul, Jhuna, fruits, roots and tubers are collected by the villagers for both domestic consumption and sale in market. They also needed timbers to build their houses. There is no exclusive inviolate zone delineated for any purpose although people ascribe kind of priority for specific zones for NTFP, grazing and other seasonal collections. The forest fringe areas are taken for granted as grazing areas and in the same manner the core forest area is considered as the NTFP zone as bulk of the NTFP harvesting is done from the core forest. For fuel wood collection, the zone in between the forest fringe and the forest core is frequented yet there is no restriction on collecting fuel wood from other areas without harming any live tree. For purpose of bamboo and other minor construction requirements, places where such resources are available is visited under supervision and approval of the forest committee.
NO-GO, NO-TAKE AREAS
Earlier, as per the information of octogenarian Bharat Nayak, they used to keep the forests closed from fuel wood collection for a year and were opening the forest for fuel wood collection for 15 days in summer when the forest clearings were being done.
|Legal Status||CFR under FRA|
|Community Forest Resource Rights (CFR)||CFR claims recognised|
|Date of filing CFR claim||-|
|Level of CFR claim||-|
|Date of recognition of CFR claim||-|
|Management plan status||-|
|Other Recognised Status||-|
The village youth and the office bearers who attend the federation meetings bring in awareness on various forest laws and policies which get spread through word of mouth, small group discussions and other village meetings. It was observed that villagers have awareness on Joint Forest Management, Biodiversity Register preparation, Forest Rights Act and the rules governing Reserve Forests. Their knowledge on Forest Rights Act is relatively better as it is the most discussed matter in the current scenario.
|Impact on Livelihoods and Subsistence||Firewood|
|Social Impacts||Revival or continuation of cultural/religious associations|
|Ecological Impact||Good diversity of crops, livestock, fish, Improved/sustained ecological services|
|Internal Threats and Challenges||Changing socio-cultural practices and aspirations|
|External Threats and Challenges||-|
The forest protection initiatives have appreciably contributed to conservation of flora and fauna in the region. This is perceived from the fact that through years of protection activities, the forests have become well stocked in terms of biomass and biodiversity. More importantly, the conservation effort has contributed to regenerations in the depleted forest fringe areas and by that the corridor linking with other forests is clearly visible. Along with the endemic vegetations, many new horticultural and exotic species have been planted in the depleted forest areas. Such species includes coconut, mango, acacia, teak, among others. A kind of tuber locally known as pichhuli is available in the forest which people use as a food item has become more abundant because of protection and conservation activities. Apart from these, the population of medicinal plants and creepers like Harida, Bahada, Amla, Jhumpuri, Beta, Bela, Kankana, Katakal, Mahul and Jhuna has become abundantly available in the forest. Fauna like wild boars, antelopes, hares, mouse deer, monitors, monkeys and snakes are now commonly spotted in the forest. Certain communal rituals conducted in the forest have contributed to the solidarity in the village. They have been conducting Gobardhan puja before onset of monsoon in the Bhuinmundia jungle. In early days, community feasts were being conducted inside the forests which were attended by all households invariably. During the Gobardhan Puja and community feasts, the villagers were monitoring the development of forests through their collective protection and were also discussing issues and future actions during such gatherings. The villagers attribute their caste composition being one major factor for solidarity among villagers and coherence in thought and action pertaining to protecting and managing the forests. According to them all the households in the village belong to the Khandayat caste and because of that there is no intra-village difference of opinion which usually appears between members of different castes is there in the village.
External institutions and entities like NGOs, SHGs, committees at village level and forest committees from adjacent villages, youth club, forest departments, gram panchayat and finally solidarity among committee members in village committees directly or indirectly help and support conservation.
i) Creating awareness among youngsters for the forest conservation and making them involve in all the forest conservation activities as very less youngsters are now available in the village and migrated to cities for better job.
ii) Forward market linking of forest products through SHGs.
iii) Maintaining the reputation of the village as a forest protecting community through linkages with appropriate agencies and institutions.
To establish forest with good green cover and return of biodiversity, ensuring maximum young mass participation in developmental activities of committees is important, also to help community women to get lucrative price for the forest produce they sell are the envisaged and envisioned future plans of the forest protection committee there.
|Data Source||By external entity with permission of community member|
|Year of Study||-|