Orissa has a unique distinction of being one of the few states in
India where there are thousands of local communities that are
actively protecting and conserving biodiversity along with meeting
their own livelihood requirements. These efforts cover a vast array
of ecosystems existing on
private land, community owned lands, lands
whose ownership is disputed, as well as government owned lands.
can call these initiatives as Community Conservation Initiatives (CCIs).
With one third of the population of Orissa critically dependent on
the forest resources, biodiversity has always been an integral part
of the socio-cultural aspects of the local people. Ethos of
conservation and harmonious living with the nature are very much
ingrained in the life styles of the local people...
history of community forest protection and management in the
State dates back to pre independence days. These initiatives
were the result of spontaneous reaction to increasing
resource scarcity caused, among other reasons, by the
State’s commercial exploitation of the forest. These
initiatives existed in the backdrop of the local people’s
struggle to assert control over natural resources. There are
about 12,000 forest protecting groups, spread all over
Orissa protecting around two million hectares of forest
ranging from a few years old to several generations old…..
Coastal/Marine Habitat Conservation Orissa’s
coastline of 480 sq kms ranks among the world’s largest
turtle nesting and waterfowl
wintering grounds, along with considerable other wildlife.
Community efforts are visible in various points here too.
The wetlands and coasts of the State are providing shelter
to thousands of migratory birds and sea turtles. The State
also holds distinctive examples where local communities are
conserving migratory animals/birds even at the expense of
Bio-diversity Conservation In
an era, when agro-biodiversity is fighting for survival with the
market forces, there are citadels of conservation led by
communities, individuals and organizations which have kept alive
the rich tradition of agro-biodiversity in different parts of
Orissa. These models of conservation have drawn inspiration from
indigenous traditional knowledge systems evolved by the
communities over a long period of time and which are both
ecologically and economically sustainable.
Conserved Areas Orissa
has a long tradition of cultural conservation. The
philosophy of conservation lies in the culture and ethos of
society that encompasses care of forest in the form of
sacred groves or worship wild species as incarnation of
God. The tribal people of Orissa worship nature and
centuries ago, these interlinkages generated a deep respect
for nature, which resulted in an establishment of holy
institution of conservation, in the form of “the sacred
grove”. Similarly many endangered species threatened to
extinction in other places are conserved in areas where
religious sentiments are attached with these creatures
Many examples can be cited in Orissa where the
communities are actively protecting individual species
of wildlife. Many endangered species threatened to
extinction are conserved in these areas and eventually
the conserving community develops emotional bond with
the animals. This has ensured sustained efforts to
conserve the species. In most of the cases, security
imparted to particular species is nothing but
realization of its role in life supporting system. Here
the roots of initiative lie deep in traditional
ecological knowledge system ...