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Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Conserving Biodiversity as If People Matter: A Case Study from India Author(s): Madhav Gadgil Reviewed work(s): Source: Ambio, Vol. 21, No. 3, Economics of Biodiversity Loss (May, 1992), pp. 266-270 Published by: Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Stable URL: . Accessed: 17/12/2011 00:46
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as if Peopl Biodiversity Conserving from Study India Matter: A Case

centerof Malabar (Fig. 1). It is a regionof gentleundulating hills, risingrather steeply from a narrowcoastal strip borderingthe Arabian Seato a plateau of 500 at analtitude m with occasionalhills risingabove 600 to 860 m. The annual precipitationlargely confinedto the monsoonmonthsof Juneto September rangesbetween3500 mmon the coast,risingto 5000 mmon thecrestline and to 1000mmontheeastern declining plateau. An interpretation of the Landsatimagery suggeststhataround 6900 km2 of thedistrict is underforest cover, around2000 km2is underpaddyandmilletcultivation, 130km2 undercoconut and betelnutorchards,200 km2underrocky outcropsand the balance under habitationand reservoirs(5). This tractof 6900 km2of forestlandis thelargest single contiguoustract of humid tropical forestin Peninsular India.Today,it harbors 1741 species of floweringplants and 403 species of birds.Notablewildlife includes INTRODUCTION the tiger, elephant,gaur or Indianbison, Withextensive tracts of humid forests the ongoingprocessesmay be summarized liontailed tropical Wynaad laughing thrush, macaque, and great heterogeneityof environmental as follows: Travancore tortoise, several speciesof legless regimes, India is one of the top twelve a. Intensification of resource fluxes in amphibians anddipterocarp trees (6). megadiversity countries of theworld.Given favor of industry-organized services-inthelargebiomassneedsof its tribal andrural tensive agricultural complex involving Colonial Period populations and the exploding resource large-scalestatesubsidies. demandsof its growing urban-industrialUttara Kannada has been well known biomassdemandsof a grow- historically intensive agriculture complex, conserving b. Increasing forits forestsandwildlife.Inthe ing rural population to forced meet its this heritageof biodiversity is a formidable 17thcentury boththe BritishandDutchhad requirements from open-access public of nature challenge.Indiahas richtraditions established tradestations on its coast.These lands. it has conservation; followingindependence dealt extensively in wild pepper and also developedan extensivenetworkof naTogether these two kinds of pressures cardamom, sandalandteakwood andpoon turereserves. promotenonsustainable, inefficientuse of (Calophyllum elatum) for ship masts. The ProjectTigerwith 17 reservesspan- natural-resources, resulting in decimation Accountsof Europeans who worked atthese ning the countryhas savedthis magnificent of biodiversity. stationsmentionthe rich wildlife with an This is coupledto animalfrom the brinkof extinction.There of tiger,panther, bison elephant, at conservation of biodiversity abundance are however signs that all is not well with c. Attempts and several species of deer. The district in a of network officially constituted nathe country'sprograms of conservation. Inturereserves,relyingon policingby the cameinto Britishhandsin 1799.Buchanan, dia's culturaltraditions have preservedan in the employof the EastIndia state apparatus,while the traditional a naturalist enormousnetwork of trees of the genus Company travelled extensivelythrough the practices of conservation aregiven short Ficus, an importantkeystone resourcedistrict in 1800-1802. His very detailed shrift. throughout the countryside. These treesare accounts confirm thatapart fromthesouthern now being increasingly felled to bake How do these processes affect biodi- parts of the coastal tract,the districtwas bricksandto makecrates.At the sametime, versity? What specific elements are re- thickly forestedand aboundedin wildlife. key reservesin thenetwork of Project Tiger sponsiblefor negativeimpacts? How might He also mentions,the cultural traditions of suchas Kanha andManasarethreatened by these problemns be overcome and what local people that focused on naturecondiscontented local tribalpeople.The impor- would come in the way of overcoming servationsuch as sacredgroves. However, tantquestionsthatmustnow be tackled,re- these problems? he interpretsthe almost-total protection late not only to identifyingthe deficiencies offeredto thesegrovesas a "contrivance" to in the coverageof the nationalnetworkof prevent Britishrulersfromlayinga claimto naturereserves, but to how decisions are UTTARAKANNADA whatwas now its rightful property (7). made on whatelementsof biodiversityare The two richesthumidtropicalforesttracts The historyof the Britishperiodcan be to be conservedand how this is to be ac- of Indiafall in the biogeographic provinces summarized as a series of attemptsby the complished(1, 2). of EastemHimalayas andMalabar, thelatter colonialpowerto appropriate therichforest It is importantto look critically at the comprising the west coastandthe hill range resources of the districtas cheaplyas possiprocessesaffectingoverallpatterns of natu- of WestemGhats (3, 4). Thedistrict of Uttara ble. To this end, the community-based sysral-resource utilization andnotjust at those Kannada (13052'to 15030'N and74?05'to temsof restrained use andconservation had impingingon nature reserves.Verybroadly 750 5'E) withanareaof 10200 km2 lies atthe to be scuttled. This was accomplished Indiahas richtraditionsof natureconservation as well as a vigorous officialprogram of protection of nature reserves developed over the last 40 years. However, the management arrangements officialprogramsuffersfromtotalrelianceon authoritarian inwhich decisions are made centrallyand coercion is used to implementthem. Atthe same time, the state apparatus organises subsidized resource flows to the urbancomplex which promote inefficient,non-sustainable industrial-intensiveagricultural resource-use patterns that are inimical to conservation of biodiversity. These processes are illustratedwithinthe concrete setting of the districtof UttaraKannada in southern India. Itis suggested that the interests of conservation would be served farbetterby an approachthatwithdrawsthe subsidies to the elite so that a much more efficient, sustainable and equitable pattern of resource use, compatible with conservation of biodiversity,can be instituted.Inconjunctionwiththis, the largersociety should involve local people in working out detailed plans for conservation of biodiversity and offer them adequate authority as well as appropriate financial incentives to implement these plans. The paper goes on to illustratehow such an approach may be implemented in the case of UttaraKannada.
AMBIO VOL. 21 NO. 3, MAY 1992

refusalto recognizethe legitimacy through of all customary andcommunity ownership rights. The British recognized only two forms of ownership,state ownershipof all landsandprivateownership non-cultivated of all cultivatedlands. The bulk of stateowned lands were convertedinto reserveforestlands.A fraction,about25%was set forest lands aside as minoror leaf-manure for meetingthe subsistencebiomassneeds since of local people.These are substantial agriculturein this hilly district with its laterized nutrientdeficient soils depends heavily on organicmanureinputs.But the forest lands came to be minor/leaf-manure treatedas open-accessresourcesand have consequently been subject to escalating as envisagedin the tragedyof degradation the commonsscenario.The reserveforests were dedicatedto supplycheap raw material, primarily, teak to serve colonial interests of shipbuilding,railways and other As a result,they were almost constructions. teakbetweenthe totallydepletedof natural years 1800-1850; followed by depletionof other hardwoods, especially Terminalia andLagerstroemia species, andconversion to single species plantationsof teak. The evergreentree species were of little commercialvalueuntilthe 1940s,andup to that time forest working focussed on their replacementby the more valuedtimberspecies. Although a succession of management plans initiated in early 1900s proharvestsas theiraim, in fessed sustainable fact there was only furtherdepletion.All managementplans were set aside during the two world wars, permitting totally unregulatedharvestingfrom reserve forests (8-10). Since Independence The British forest-management regime in UttaraKannada was dedicatedto exportof teakandothertimber as cheaplyas possible. WorldWar II broughtabout an important change,however,when the Britishdecided to encourage plywoodmanufacture in India. With its rich evergreenforests providing abundant raw material,one of India's first plywood factorieswas set up in the Uttara Kannadadistrict.This was followed by a paperfactoryanda polyfiberindustry, both of which were established soon after independence. Thepolicyof dedicating state-owned forest landsto furnisha cheapsupplyof industrial raw materialswas carriedto further extremes after independence. Thus, in 1958, bamboo, earlier prescribed to be eradicated as it constituteda weed in teak plantations,in spite of its manifold rural uses, was sold to the paper industry.The price was as low as Rs. 1.50 (USD 0.30 at the then prevalent exchange rates) per tonne, i.e. over a thousandtimes less than the marketvalue. Giant wild mango trees that regularlyyielded much valued fruit worthmorethanRs. 100peryear,werealso made over to plywoodindustry for as little as Rs. 150 for a whole tree. The resulthas been rapiddecimationof a whole rangeof species in the morehumidtracts,especially on the steeper western hill slopes. Other
AMBIO VOL. 21 NO. 3, MAY 1992

have also been made natural-resources availableat highly subsidizedrates to the urban, industrial, intensive agriculture complex. For example, there have been a series of state sponsored hydroelectric projectswithin the district.The electricity has been suppliedto industrial so generated andurban householdsas well as consumers usedin waterliftingfor irrigated agriculture at greatly subsidized rates. At the same whose landswere subtime the cultivators merged under the reservoirs have been andoftenforcedto enpoorlycompensated croach on forest land to eke out a living. This whole system of subsidizedresource use has ensuredthatneitherresourcemanwith usersareconcerned agersnorresource resource-use efficiency. While the commercial pressures have mounted,so have the subsistencedemands thathas grownrapof the ruralpopulation of malaria idly as a resultof the eradication afterWorldWar II. These subsistencedemands continue to be met from open-access public lands, with furthererosion of traditional practicesof disciplinedharvests from commonlands.Consequently, highly of naturalinefficientandwastefulpatterns resource use haveprevailed (1 1). Traditionsof Conservation In commonwith the rest of the Indiansohaveinherited Kannada ciety,peopleof Uttara a rich variety of traditions of nature conservation (12, 13). Theseinclude: - Protection of individualplantsand animals considered to be sacred,e.g., trees of the genus Ficus or monkeyssuch as the hanuman langur and bonnet macaque. - Protection of specificlife historystages, suchas birdsbreeding at heronaries. - Protectionof entirebiological communities in the sacred groves and sacred ponds. - Protection of animalsfromoverhunting through devices, such as a ban on hunting of fruitbats at the roostingsites but not outsidethe sites. The British colonialists and, following independence,Indian resource managers have both consistentlyattacked these traditions in many ways. For example,the plywood industry has harvested Ficus nervosa as a preferredspecies and many sacred groveshave been clearcutto supplytimber. Fisheries managershave poisoned sacred ponds removing indigenous fish and restockedthem with exotic carpsfor sale to outsideagencies. State Initiated ConservationEfforts The main focus of regulationof hunting during theBritish period wasonthetraditional subsistence/ritual huntingby local people, whichaimedto ensuresupplyof gameto the European hunters.These huntersbegan to huntmanyspecies,suchaselephant, thathad previouslybeen immunefrom huntingby local people.They also vigorouslypursued extermination of speciesperceived asvermin such as the Indianwild dog. Indeed,there





N 76? 80?E

Figure 1. A map of peninsular India indicating the location of the hill range of Western Ghats. The district of Uttara Kannada stretches from the coast, across the hills to the peninsular Indian plateau.

wasarapid inwild-animal decline populations duringthe Britishregime.The pace of this declineincreased further afterindependence with the introduction of the jeep and of firearms widespread availability (14). This ever accelerating depletionof wildlife led to the beginning of conservation measuresin the 1950s with the establishmentof an IndianBoardfor Wildlifeandof WildlifeWingsin ForestDepartments. The maintool of conservation thatwas adopted was a banon hunting of endangered species with the establishment everywhere together of WildlifeSanctuaries andNationalParks. A majorWildlifeSanctuary, DandeliW. L. S., of over 5730 km2, was established in 1953 in the northem parts of Uttara Kannada. However, little protection to naturalvegetation and wildlife was provided since a large papermill was established in the very heartof this sanctuary in 1958 anda seriesof damsof the giantKali hydelprojectcoveredtherestof the sanctuary in the 1970s (15). The ban on hunting has not been very effectively implemented since it is operatedin a centralized,rigid fashionwithoutallowancefor local conditions.Forexample,farmers claimthatthere are now too manywild pigs in the district withthenewly arriving weeds,Lantana and Eupatorium providing excellentshelter,and depletionof pantherand tigerpopulations, cutting down predation. These pigs cause severecrop damageandfarmers huntthem relentlessly. Nevertheless, huntingwild pig remainsan offence in law. So does the annual ritual huntingby local communities such as the HalakkiVakkals who engagein sucha huntas a religiousobservance. At the same time official managerscontinue to

The coastal landscape of Uttara Kannada. There is little left of natural vegetation. However the coastal stretch is covered by coconut plantations mixed with a tremendous diversity of cultivars of mango (Mangifera indica) and jackfruit (Artocarpus integrifolia) along with a number of fruit yielding tree species belonging to genera Myristica, Spondias and Garcinia. All of these also occur in the wild. Photo: M.D. Subash Chandran.

The mosaic of disturbed natural forest and anthropogenic grasslands near the crestline of Western Ghats in Uttara Kannada district. Such vegetation supports the greatest diversity of bird species within this district. Photo: R.J. Ranjit Daniels.

An irrigation pond in the eastern part of Uttara






~ ~ ~



~diversity of resident and migratory waterfowl. Photo: R.J. Ranjit

Kannada district. These support a wide


Nevertheless,the effectiveness of traditional conservationcan be clearly seen in the landscapeof UttaraKannada, where a large numberof monkeysstill surviveand Social Conflicts thousandsof Ficus trees dot the countryThiswhole systemof resource management side due to theirreligioussignificance.The initiatedunderthe Britishrule and further only remainingnaturalstand of the genus persistsin a sacredgrove,as elaborated after independence is based on Dipterocarpus local people from controlof and does the last large patch of a Myristica alienating access to resources.Its primaryobjective swamp. hasbeento makenatural resources available as cheaplyas possibleto the elite, be it the CONSERVATION British ruling classes or the industry- RE-ORIENTING organized services-intensive agriculture Evidently,thereis a case for workingout a complexof theIndiansociety.Theelite that newapproach toconservation of biodiversity benefits from resource mobilization is inUttara Kannada. Itis clearthat conservation shielded fromtheill-effects of thedegradation cannotbe considered in isolationfromlocal of the resource base, since it can shift to the people, and broaderpatterns of naturaluse of other resourcesor resourcesfrom resourceuse anddevelopment, but mustbe otherregionsas the occasiondemands. complemented by policies promoting The pattern of natural-resource use pro- sustainableand equitabledevelopmentof moted by centralizedauthorityhas been the natural-resource base as a whole. To be non-sustainable whenviewedfromlocal ar- effective, any approach must give a larger eas such as the UttaraKannada district.It role to the local people. This would entail has also led to severeconflictswith the lo- restoring to themmuchof the authority they cal populations attempting to maintain their have lost over the past two centuriesalong customaryrights over and access to re- with appropriate financialincentives.Local sources(5, 11). In the process,the local tra- people mustbe involvedbecausetheirwell ditionsof resourceconservation have been beingis stillintimately linkedto thehealthof increasingly disrupted or havebroken down the natural-resourcebase of their own altogether. localities,hencetheyhave a realstakein its

violatetraditions of conservation of the local people.

sustainableuse. Thus, in UttaraKannada peopledependon natural vegetation to meet almostall theneedsof domesticcookingand water heating, 90% of fodder needs for livestock, and 80-90% of nutrient-supply needsfor cultivatedlands.Localpeople are also dependenton naturalvegetation for making ropes, baskets, agriculturaland fishing implementsand for thatchingtheir huts and cattle sheds (5). They still collect many wild fruits,huntbirds and wild pigs and fish the rivers to providea significant fractionof their nutrition(16). For them, degradation of natural-resources is a genuine hardship, and of all the people and groups who composethe Indiansocietytheyarethe mostlikelyto be motivated to takegoodcare of the landscapeand ecosystemson which they depend.The manytraditions of nature conservationthat are still practicedcould form a basis for a viable strategy of conservation biodiversity (2). Involving local people in conservation, however,does not implyas some Gandhian environmentalistshave stated that India mustabandon all effortsat industrialization andreturn all authority to villagecommunities in an effort to recreatean agricultural society in balancewith nature(17). Such a scenariois simplynot feasiblefor a variety of reasons, including the pressuresof the international economicandpoliticalsystem. The practical optionis to continuethe processes of industrialization andintensification of agriculture, butwith an emphasison efficient, sustainableand equitable resource use. The centralargument so farhas been that and inequitable inefficient,non-sustainable resourceuse is promoted by the large-scale state intervention throughsubsidies to the industrial-organized services-intensiveagriculture complex thatis shieldedfrom the costs of environmental These degradation. costs are passed on, for instance to the peasants and artisansof Uttara Kannada districtwho have been deprivedof all authorityover the local natural-resource base. The proper responsewouldthenbe to withdrawthe subsidiesthatpresently flow to the elite. Instead,the elite should be made to
AMBIO VOL. 21 NO. 3, MAY 1992

Assessing conservation priorities for Uttara Kannada (6). Criterion Prescriptions for UK The only or best representative localities of conservation interest Bharatnalli Madurahalli,Gunjavati Range, Bargadda-Patoli, HuliaevargodluUnchalli, Aganashini estuary, Kulgi-Virnoli

Existing Apparatus for Planning and Implementing Biodiversity Conservation in India.

Ministry of Environment and Forests

Si No.* 1.


Species richness of constituent biological communities

Greater value attached to communities with larger number of species

Evergreen forests harbor largest number of species of flowering plants and amphibians, and moist deciduous forest zone that of birds Myristica swamps harbor communities with a restricted range Communities of spray zones of waterfalls are of very . restricted occurrence; Limestone outcrops Mangrove vegetation and beaches harbor a highly distinct set of sepcies Riverine forests are greatly endangered by human pressures


Geographical range of constituent biological communities Spatial occurrence of constituent biological communities within their range Identity of species making up consitutent biological communities Endangerment due to human pressures

Greater value attached to communities with more restricted range Greater value attached to communities with more restricted spatial occurrence The more distinctive the component of species, the greater the value The more endangered communities are of greater value



Primarily advisory, and as disburser offunds for special projects such as

Project Tiger since Land

Unchalli waterfalls, Yan

Use, Forestry and Law and Order are responsibilities of State Governments. Advisory Boards provide minimal inputs to the Central Ministry. STATEGOVERNMENTS

Sunken, Thenginagundi Aganashini estuaries Karwar-KamatBay


HulidevaragodluUnchalli waterfalls

6. (a)

Attributes of component species Restricted geographical range Greater value attached to species with more restricted range Greater value attached to species with narrow habitat preferences Greater value attached to species with fewer related species Evergreen forests harbor birds with more restricted range Freshwater ponds and estuaries harbor birds with narrow habitat preferences Gnetum, a gymnospermous climber of evergreen forests is the only member of its order in UK Winteringwaterfowl in marshes are hunted extensively Ficus species are keystone resources of tropical forests throughout the district Betelnut plantations serve as links between patches of evergreen forests Suremane, Hulidevaragodlu

Forest Departments: Territorial and Wildlife Wings


These two wings have joint jurisdiction throughout a

state. Wildlife Wings are

Narrow habitat preference

Madurahalli, Nyasergi, Salgaum, Sanikatta, Masur Hulidevaragodlu

manned by Forestry Personnel on temporary secondment. All the decision-making power of these as well as all other State Government agencies is concentrated in the hands of Ministers, Secretaries and and Departmental Heads operating from the state capitals. At the state level a WildlifeAdvisory Board provides minimal inputs, there are no inputs from a more local level.


Taxonomic uniqueness


Endangerment due to human pressures Ecological role

Greater value attached to species subject to greater pressures Species serving as keystone resources would be attached greater value Greater value attached to communities serving as links in maintaining higher diversity

Aganashini estuary and Nyasergi Ficus trees protected on religious grounds are scattered



Interaction with adjacent communities

SI = Specific locality

treats conservation as a matter of keeping local people out of a few large naturereserves and preventing them from killing most larger species of wild reptiles, birds and mammals anywherewithin the district.All the decisions pertaining to such regulations are made centrally, partly in the national capital of Delhi and largely in the state capital of Bangalore by the Forestry Service personnel (Box). Substantial amounts of funds are then placed at the disposal of the Forest Departments to discharge their regulatory function. The state apparatushas at its disposal little Outside Control detailed locality-specific knowledge of either Thenatural-resource development approach the distributionof biodiversity or the various advocated here,wouldof coursehave to be pressures impinging on it. Its functionaries complemented by aneffortmorespecifically have no real personal stake in conservation of focused onbiodiversity. Thecurrent approach biodiversity, nor are they in a position to
AMBIO VOL. 21 NO. 3, MAY 1992

compensate the rural poorfor the declinein theirqualityof life, consequent on degradation of the natural-resource base. At the same time the local people should be increasinglyinvolvedin controlling andmanaging the natural-resource base of theirlocalities. This ought to promotea far more efficient, sustainable and equitableprocess of intensification of natural-resource use, a processthatwouldbe compatible with conservation of biodiversity.

effectively discharge their regulatory function. It is then no wonder that these effortshave not been very fruitful. Involving the Local People A farmoreeffective conservation effort would focusonthewholelandscape instead of a few reserves,on the whole diversityof species and ecosystems instead of only on larger vertebrates andemphasizepositiverewards for promoting conservation in place of regulation by the stateapparatus. Above all, it wouldplacethemajor responsibility forthe tasksquarely in thehandsof thelocalpeople, ratherthan with an impersonalcentralized or technocracy. bureaucracy The local people would not howeverbe

in a positionto operate could submitbids References and Notes entirelyon theirown ferentvillagesconcerned and the conservation effort would have to based on the annuallevel of financialin1. Rodgers, W.A. and Panwar, H.S. 1988. Planning a WildlifeProtected Area Networkin India, Vol.1. The be one of co-planning andco-management. centivethey would need to acceptthe conReport.Wildlife Instituteof India,DehraDun, India. Local people do possess very detailedin- servation option.If the statethatspeaksfor 2. Gadgil, M. 1991. Conserving India's biodiversity: the societal context. EvolutionaryTrendsin Plants 5, 3-8. formationon local biodiversity,its history the broader publicinterestfinds these bids Mani, M.S. (ed.). 1974. Ecology and Biogeographyin andtheforcesimpinging on it. Buttheylack acceptable,it could decide to implement 3. India. W. Junk,The Hague. a broader,global perspective.Outsideex- conservation in partnership programs with 4. Nair,N.C. andDaniel, P. 1986.The floristicdiversityof the Western Ghatsandits conservation:A review.Proc. perts collaboratingwith local scientists, some or all of the villages involved. ConInd. Acad. Scie. (Anim.Sci/Plan.Sci), Supplement,Nowhen these are available, could provide versely,it coulddecideto writeoff some of vember 1986, p. 103-125. 5. K.M. Gadgil, M., and K.A. Hegde, 1986. Uttara Shetty, sucha perspective the freshwater (6). pondsof the Uttara Kannada Kannada:A case study in hill area development. In: The starting pointof this exercisewas to districtto extend paddycultivation.Local Karnataka State of EnvironmentReport-1985-1986. Saldanha, C.J. (ed.). Centre for Taxonomic Studies, note that we might wish to conserve communities shouldof coursereceive payp. 155-170. definedas the entirespectrum mentonly if they succeedin conserving biodiversity, the 6. Bangalore, Daniels,R.J.R.,SubashChandran, M.D. andGadgil,M. of varietyand variabilityamongliving or- freshwater A strategy for conserving the biodiversity of Uttara pondsinvolved. Kannada: A districtin South India.Environ.Conserv. ganisms and the ecological complexes in more researchand practiUndoubtedly, (In Press). which they occur,for a varietyof reasons. cal experience is required to designandim- 7. Buchanan,F. 1870.JourneyThroughtheNorthernParts ofKanara (1800-1802) 2. Higginbothams, India. Madras, These reasonsmay includesubsistenceuse plementan alternative to thecentralized and 8. Gadgil, M. and Subash Chandran, M.D. 1989. On the value, e.g. herbalmedicines used locally; authoritarian approach to conservation. An historyof Uttara Kannada forests.In:ChangingTropical Forests. Dargavel,J., Dixon, K. and Semple, N. (eds). commodity use value, e.g. cane or wild important obstacleis likely to be the resistAustralian National University, Canberra, p. 47-58. honey; non-consumptiveuse value, e.g. anceof the centralauthority becausea large 9. Gadgil, M. and Iyer, P. 1989. On the diversificationof watershedservices;optionvalue, e.g. wild bureaucratic apparatus to implementprocommonproperty resourceuse by the Indiansociety. In: Common PropertyResources:Ecology and Community relativesof cultivatedplantsthatmay pro- gramslocallywouldsimplybe unnecessary. Based Sustainable Development. Berkes, F. (ed.). vide useful genetic material for future Rathera much smaller, technically more Belhaven Press, London,p. 240-255. problemsandprospects. breeding programs;transformative apparatus would be required, 10. Gadgil,M. 1989.Deforestation: value, sophisticated EnergyEnvironment Monitor5, 3-47. provisionof experienceof unspoiltnature; one whichwouldhavea capability to assess 11. Gadgil, M. 1991. RestoringIndia's forest wealth. Nat. Res. 27, 12-20. and existencevalue, for its own sake. This broader priorities,to help local authorities 12. M. Gadgil, 1991. Diversity: cultural and biological. rationalesuggestscertainconservation pri- workout detailedplans and monitorto deTrendsEcol. Evolut.2, 369-373. orities. These prioritiesmust be relatedto terminewhetherthe local authorities are in 13. Gadgil, M. and Berkes, F. 1991. Traditionalresource management systems. Resource Management and attributes of any locality to assess the lo- fact implementingthe conservationmeaOptimization 18, 127-141. cality's significance for conservation.In suresas agreed.The local authorities would 14. Nair, P.V.K. and Gadgil, M. 1980. The statusand distributionof elephantpopulationsin Karnataka. Journal general,a locality will be valuedmoreif it have to be strengthened and betterorganof BombayNatural History Society 75 (Suppl.), 1000contains elements that are distinctive, ized andcapableof takingfurther programs 1016. rareor of restricted threatened, of political and admin- 15. Kamath,S.V. (ed.). 1985. KarnatakaState Gazetteer, occurrence; of decentralization Uttara Kannada District. Governmentof Karnataka, and if it harborsmany such elements (see istrativeresponsibilities. This would entail India. Table). renderinglocal governmentsmuch more 16. SubashChandran,M.D. and Gadgil, M. State forestry anddeclineof food resourcesin tropicalforestsin Uttara The local people must be intimatelyin- accountable to people thanis presentlythe Kannada in SouthernIndia.Proceedingsof the Internavolved to takethis broadprioratization fur- case. The centralauthority wouldalso have tionalSymposium on Food and Nutritionin the Tropical Forest: Biocultural Interactions and Applications to therandto decideon specificactionpoints. to transfer a greatdeal of its jurisdicialand Development,Paris, 10-13, September1991. (Inpress). For example, the evergreen forests of policing powers to the more locally-ori- 17. Shiva, V. 1991. Ecology and the Politics of Survival. Uttara Kannadadistrict are rich in wild entedinstitutions. Sage Publications,New Delhi, p. 365. WorldResources Institute et al. 1992.GlobalBiodiversity relativesof cultivated fruittrees,as well as Such a local involvementmanagement 18. Strategy. many cultivarsof fruit trees. Quite a few strategyis very much in the spirit of the 19. NationalWastelands Development Board,Govt.of India. 1991. Guidelines for Micro Planning. National farmers have developedlargecollectionsof proposalto involve local communities that Wastelands Development Board, Ministry of such species, especially of genera is an importantelement of the Global Environmentand Forests, Govt. of India, New Delhi 110003,p.51. Mangifera, Artocarpus, Myristica, Gar- BiodiversityStrategybeing developed by I gratefully acknowledge supportfor this work by the cinia and Spondiason theirown lands,out WRI,IUCNandUNEP(18). It is also con- 20. Department of Environment, Government of India of personal interest. Manylocal peoplealso sistentwith the microlevelplanninginitiathrougha series of long-termresearchgrants.I am also grateful to my colleagues R.J. RanjitDaniels and M.D. know of individualwild mango trees that tive of the NationalWastelandsDevelopSubashChandran for manyyears of collaborativework bear fruit of special flavor or have excep- ment Board of the Governmentof India thathas contributed to the ideas embodiedin this paper. tionallyhigh yields. Theirinputswouldob- (19). Such international and nationalsupviouslybe of valuein decidingon the focus portis criticalto the success of an alternaof a program to conservewild relativesof tive approach, for it is apt to runinto sericultivated plants. Similarly some habitat ous oppositionon the partof the politicaltypes are now conserved only in sacred economic-bureaucratic vested intereststhat MadhavGadgil holds a Ph.D. in groves, e.g. Myristicaswamps in Kathle- benefitfromthe present-day pattern of nonbiology from HarvardUniversity and kan. Local people know of such patchesin sustainable resourceuse and of a rigid pohas served as a lecturer at Harvard forestinterior; they also appreciate theirre- licing approach to conservation. FortuUniversity and a visiting professor ligious significance. nately, the global trendsare today excepat Stanford University. For the past Conservationprioritiesmust also take tionally favorable for a decentralized, 18 years he has been on the faculty account of the whole set of human de- peopleoriented approach. As a result,more of the IndianInstitute of Science mands on a given locality. For example, andmoreattempts where he currently holds the Astra like thatexemplifiedby articificialfreshwater irrigation pondscon- the MarineConservation Professorship in Biological andDevelopment Sciences. His research interests structedin preBritishtimes in the eastern Programon the Visayas islands, Philipencompass mathematical modelling partsof the districtareimportant habitats of pines,arelikelyto be initiated in thecoming as well as field studies in the areas migratory waterfowl.These pondsare now years (18). Theirsuccess would be greatly of population biology, conservation beingencroached by paddycultivators. The enhancedif they are backedby a locality biology and human ecology. He is local people are fully awareof who is en- specific analysisof the situation in its conalso active in policy studies having croaching and what their economic cretehistorical setting.Involvement of local served for 4 years on the Scientific motivationsare. Today,the stateapparatus people is absolutely essential for impleAdvisory Council to the Prime triesto regulatesuchencroachment through mentingthe conservation measureson the Ministerof India. His address: coercion. This often fails. Instead,the re- ground. Centre for Ecological Sciences, sources devoted to enforcementcould be IndianInstitute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India. offeredto local communities so as to motivate themto continueto conservethefreshwaterpondsin theirown villages. The dif270
AMBIO VOL. 21 NO. 3, MAY 1992