Forest dependence and the utilization patterns of locals in the PirPanjal Himalayas

Mohd. Junaid Jazib


All the societies, in general, have some degree of dependence, directly or indirectly, on forests for certain products and services. Several communities in rural and forest neighboring areas, however, rely heavily on the forest resources for their survival and livelihood. They have evolved traditional ways of making use of forests for obtaining various requirements ranging from the food, fodder and fuel-wood to medicine and timber. In the PirPanjal Himalayas tribal populations in particular and all the people in general shows a tremendous dependence on and a complex relationship with the forests they neighbor. Various groups of people depending upon the type of people-forest relationship include obligatory dependants who reside inside the forests and derive their entire subsistence primarily from them; optional dependants who practice agricultural or other occupations but use forests for various household purposes; and commercial dependants who engage in commercial activities involving logging, collection of forest produce, etc.  The commercial utilization of forests though helps some families to earn their livelihood but has, besides introducing illicit and clandestine practices, manifolded the pressures on already stressed forests.. On an average 30-35% of the total income of the people inhabiting hilly tracts comes from natural resources largely including forests. Fodder for livestock is the most frequent usage of forest resources followed by timber and fuel wood collection. Usance as medicine, food, industrial raw material, commercial sale of products (wood and non-wood forest products) is found to be less common in majority of the villages studied. Small scale sale of wood and non-wood forest products (mostly illicit) is, however, observed to be a lucrative practice in certain pockets. Most of the dependence in the region under study is found to be within safer limits but requires more detailed investigations to devise and implement the forest management/conservation strategies.

Keywords: forest, forest-dependence, environmental resources, ethno-biology, sustainability


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ISSN (Paper)2224-5790 ISSN (Online)2225-0514

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