The Common Property Resources (CPRs) is defined as the resources accessible
to the whole community of a village and to which no individual has an exclusive
property right. Examples of such CPR are village pasture, community forest,
waste land, common thrashing grounds, watershed drainages, village ponds, tanks,
rivers, rivulets and river bed, etc. These resources are of great importance
in the economy of the rural poor (Jodha, 1985a, b).
However, these resources have seldom received enough attention of the economic
planners and policy makers. As a result these resources are shrinking and eroding
as well. CPRs are resources over which a community has traditional access. These
may include village pastures, forests, wastelands, irrigation systems and such
other commodities having collective utilization. Such resources are accessible
to the whole village community and no one person can stake his own preclusive
claim. But, unlike open access resources where peoples use is on a “free
rider” basis with no recognized property rights, in CPRs accessibility is exclusive
with only the identified community having access to it and not others (Jodha,
1991, 1992, 1995). The decline
of CPRs as shown by field evidence is closely associated with the depletion
of this social capital. The consequence has been the conversion of CPRs in to
open access resources and their rapid degradation despite efforts to protect
and conserve them through special programmes, subsidies and enlarged bureaucracy.
Despite a rapid decline in productivity, common property resources constitute
an important component of community assets of India (Blaikie
et al., 1985). In this study, communities are taken as relatively
self-contained residential units while a group is a self-identified set of persons
having some common interest (Uphoff, 1986). Many local
communities/ groups are those native people who have close cultural attachment
and economic dependence upon ancestral lands or upon lands to which they have
been pushed by dominant groups. Such local communities/groups include the following:
||People organized into tribes having local descent group lineages
||Castes, where castes indicate occupational positions in social stratifications
based on heredity
||Ethnic minority groups which differ by race, religion, dialect, culture
||Other local communities living in forest areas and dependent on local
forests, trees and CPRs for livelihood
This study includes all the categories of Indigenous communities/ groups, described above, who belong naturally to forest land and those who live in and around forest and are dependent on forest habitat and other local natural resources for their livelihood.
Livelihood in rural areas seems to offer both a more complete and compound picture of the complexities of survival in low income region than the terms earlier considered adequate such as subsistence, income and employment. It comprises the assets (natural, physical, human, financial and social capital), the activities and the access to these (mediated by institutions and social relations) and together determine the living and well being gained by individual or household. Occupational structure in the state varies from primitive and indigenous agricultural practices with an inbuilt knowledge system initiates traditional occupational engagements in activities like hunting and gathering, shifting cultivation (slash and burn method) and collection of minor forest produce, to self employment, wage labour in agriculture and service sector as well as earning from their inbuilt management system of natural resources. These are some of the diversified livelihood options which portray a unique pattern in the rural-urban set up and comprise the major livelihood options that are available to the local populace at large giving a unique pattern of traditional base with transitional outlook towards continuity and change to modernity.
Level of living throws light on the economic well-being of the people. It tells us about individual, society, village, state or nation, its level of affluence and subsistence. This study, it is hoped, would throw light on the existing levels of living of tribal people and their mode of living habits depending on the natural common property resources. To facilitate this research work the study was largely based on the data collected from the primary source.
The specific objectives of the study are:
||Document the existing state of livelihood pattern of indigenous
communities based on natural CPRs
||To quantify their level of dependency on access to CPRs
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Geographical area under study: Arunachal Pradesh is fortunate to have
immensely rich biodiversity and natural resources with a forest cover exceeding
80% of its area. Equally pressing is the need for development of our peace loving
people so as to catch up with the rest of our brethren in the country. There
is, therefore, urgent need to harmonize the interest of environment with that
development so that whatever we do is environmentally and socio-culturally sustainable.
This state is situated near the tropic of cancer, lying between latitudes 26°
28N and 29° 30 N and longitude between 91° 30 E and 97° 30 E
on the North-East extremity of India. It is bestowed by nature with beautiful
ranges of snow-clad Himalayan peak which is locally called as paradise on the
earth resulted in enormous ecological and floristic diversity. The State is
bounded on the North, North-East and North-West by China (Tibet) on the South
by Assam and Nagaland states on the South-East by Myanmar and on the West by
Bhutan. The international border of the state runs from one tri-junction of
Tibet (China), Bhutan and India in the north-west to another tri-junction of
China, Myanmar and India in the northeast along with high peaks of the Himalayas
of more than 1500 km in length. The great Himalayan ranges run from the east
of the Bhutan Himalayas to the Tsangpo upto Mishmi hills. The land and topography
of the state is hilly beginning from foothills to snow-clad zones of alpine
region. The elevation of the hills ranges from 150 m to over 7,300 m. The State
has 83,743 km2 area covering around 2.5% of the total geographical
area of the country and bearing only 0.11% of its population with population
density 17 km-2 as per 2011 census. Out of its area topographically,
the plains and foothills cover about 10-15%, broad valleys and plateaus about
35%, steep slopes 35%, snow clad peaks and pastoral land 18-20%. There are 110
tribes living in the State. The flora and fauna that occur in the forests present
a panorama of biological diversity with over 5000 plants, about 85 terrestrial
mammals, over 500 birds and a large number of butterflies, insects and reptiles.
Such an unparalleled occurrence of life forms can be attributed to the peculiar
location of the State. The State offers an ideal agro climate with vast potentials
for growing varieties of orchids round the year. Out of about 1150 species of
orchids known in India, about 500 species occur in the State making it an Orchid
Paradise of our country (Mandal, 2006). There
are over 500 Herbs recorded from the State of which 250 are used in various
Ayurvedic formulations (Mandal, 2008). The state is very
rich in having flora. It has about 4500 species of flowering plants, 400 species
of pleridophytes, 23 species of coniferous, 35 species of bamboos, 20 species
of canes, 25 Rhododendron species. Overall, Arunachal Pradesh is, as if, a natural
garden of more than 20,000 identified species of medicinal plants and so many
still remain unidentified. The rank of hotspot of the State has reduced from
18th to 21st at present in the world (Mandal, 2007).
Tawang is one of 16 districts of the State. The district has 9 circles under 3 blocks. Out of 9 circles, 3 circles (administrative units) viz. Mukto, Lumla and Zemithang along the international boundaries of Tawang district with China (Tibet) and Bhutan were considered as geographical area under study. The distance of Mukto from Tawang (Head Quarter) is 90 km, that of Zemithang from Tawang via Lumla is 70 kms and that of Lumla from Tawang is 50 km. Again, the distance between Lumla and Zemithang is 20 km. These three administrative units are connected by black top road. The vehicles are running. Zemithang has international boundary with China while Mukto and Lumla have international boundary with Bhutan.
To reach international boundary with China from Zemithang takes three hours by vehicle and also to reach international boundary with Bhutan from Lumla and Mukto takes two days foot march and one day foot march, respectively.
These 3 administrative units along the international boundaries were considered because the livelihood pattern of the people of these three units is primitive type and depends more on common property resources. Globalization and modern live style were not seen in this coldest area of the state. The three basic needs of life: food, cloth and shelter are managed by their own production on the basis of community cooperation.
Village survey: Three villages of each circle, which contains more population,
was selected for survey and 50 households from the three villages were selected
through random sampling technique without replacement to fill up the pre-designed
questionnaire through direct interaction with respondents, i.e., 50 households
from each circle. Total respondents of 3 circles were 150 (50x3 = 150).
Out of 50 households from each village consisted 25 from poor and 25 from non-poor. Again out of 25 households 10 were male respondents and 15 were female respondents. We gave more weightage on female, because generally females are engaged in collection of CPRs or forest produce. The researcher selected the respondents of age group (20-50) years as this age group is particularly more responsible to earn the livelihood for their family. The village survey was taken in the month of August, 2009.
It was categorized all households into two different household groups namely poor and non-poor based on the criteria as to what the villagers consider as important for assessing an individuals socio-economic position in the village. The household who possesses 5 or below 5 acres land with no other alternative activities such as job, business, etc. was considered as poor and others were considered as non-poor.
Tools: Simple numerical calculations, graphical representations, different statistical and econometric tools like mean, standard deviation, coefficient of variation, Yule,s Coefficient of Association are used to analyse the data.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
To document the existing state of livelihood based on natural common property:
Critical Role of Wild Food: The villagers consumed a variety of seasonal wild
items of food gathered from different sources depending on their availability.
The deficit in the staple item of food consumption was made good (at least partially)
by food collected from the forests, common property resources, rivers and the
ponds and by other items, some of which were even procured from the market.
Availability of such food from the market was dependent on their purchasing
power which was quite low. Most of these sources of food consumption could not
fully compensate for the fall in the quality of food due to fall in availability
of rice. Production of rice was very low in the study area as well as in the
district of Tawang.
Local communities and forests, trees and CPRs: Local communities have
historical ties with local forests, trees and CPRs which provide both direct
and indirect benefits to them (Neela, 1997). In this section,
the benefits of local communities from forests, trees and CPRs have been listed
as described by community members in different participatory sessions. The benefits
provided by such natural resources are basic to such communities and amongst
direct benefits, the following arc included:
||Food such as nuts, wild fruits, vegetables, leaves, flowers,
roots, stems, honey, wild animals, insects, etc
||Habitat and shelter
||Raw materials like bamboo, canes, fibres, oils, bhabbar grass, waxes,
resins, gums, dyes and wood for furniture and capital equipment for agriculture,
||Wood for building, fencing, tool making etc.
||Medicines and drugs
||Fodder such as grass, branches, twigs and leaves
||Means of livelihood, both seasonal and annual
||Ornaments, religious items and cultural symbols
Benefits-a mixed bag: The bounties of forest, trees and CPRs are a mixed
bag. Table 1 provides an illustration of such a mixed bag
where tribal villagers have listed multiple uses of 16 wild trees which are
Indirect benefits: Apart from direct benefits, forests, trees and CPRs
also provide indirect benefits (Neela, 1997). Some Indirect
benefits of forests were described by local communities of villages. The list
shows that the villagers are well aware of the rich properties of forest with
which they have a day to day interaction. This is shown in Table
These sampled households were further divided into the relatively poor and
non-poor households. This was done by compiling a census of village households
with Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques. The participants in the
PRA exercise were asked to categorise all households into two different household
groups namely poor and non-poor based on the criteria as to what the villagers
consider as important for assessing an individuals socio-economic position
in the village. Adhikari (2001) used the similar criteria
for categorising households into different groups. This categorisation should
be understood in relative terms since all the households in the study area are
subsistence jhumias and farmers with few households having earning opportunities
outside agriculture and CPRs. Singh (2010) also bears
same opinion in his study. The Jhum cultivation is the most prevalent form of
cultivation in the hilly areas of tropical Asian countries.
|| Major use of local wild trees in the study area( Direct benefits)
|Source: Field survey, August, 2009 as listed by the local
|| Indirect Benefits from forests
|Source: Field Survey, August, 2009 as discussed and listed
by the local community
|| Sample households in the surveyed villages in tawang district
|Note: The village level household data for 2001 is not available.
Source: Census data, 2001 and village survey data, August, 2009. H.H: Households,
M: Male and F: Female
It involves cutting of patches forest in the month of February to March burning
of the slashed, dried vegetation after one month and then sowing of crop seeds
in April in small holes made throughout slopy fields. Harvesting of the crops
is done in succession as they ripe between July to December (Karim
and Mansor, 2011). To meet the needs of the growing population, it is necessary
to tailor the management options such as shifting sowing window, growing heat
tolerant varieties etc. to overcome the ill effects of changing climate arisen
due to jhum cultivation (Srivani et al., 2007).The
details are in Table 3.
The main tools of the study were two sets of questionnaire namely: (1) household schedule and (2) village schedule. Both household schedule and village schedule were canvassed in the sampled villages. The household schedule seeks to gather information regarding demography as well as socio-economic characteristics of household, occupational pattern and sources of livelihood, land holdings, tenure and production system, collection and use of forest products from community forest, consumption expenditure and household management system etc. In case of stock variables, the position on the day of survey was collected, but in case of flow variables, the information of varying periods was taken into account. The data on production, consumption, income etc. were collected for the year preceding the day of survey. On the other hand, the village schedule also seeks to gather information regarding identification of sampled village, village history, availability of infrastructural facilities, particulars of the quality of forests near the village, role of village institutions and institutional framework of resource management and use. The questionnaires were designed in English for the sake of convenience but were translated into local dialect with the help of interpreters who were part of the survey team at the time of survey wherever necessary. The data collected through the household schedule and village schedule were tabulated in coding sheets to have a clear view of the replies of the respondents and the facts and figures were translated for analytical purposes. Further, the data collected from the field study were also supplemented by the field study notes maintained by the researcher.
Livestock is sometimes regarded as an asset of the rural community. The average value of livestock per household in the study area is round rupees 10, 000 and it is positively related to the consumption value from commons. This may be due to the fact that the value of livestock is likely to be skewed among the rural households in the study area.
Quantify the level of dependence of the community on CPRs: Notwithstanding monitoring and measurement complexities, some of the benefits derived from common property resources in the regions of India have been quantified. Table 2 highlights these benefits. Common property resources have been degraded and their productivity is much lower today than in the past. Consequently, the non-poor i.e., the rural rich (large farmers) depend very little on them. It is not worthwhile for them to collect and use meagre quantities of products from these resources. On the other hand, the rural poor (small farmers and landless labourers) with limited alternatives increasingly depend on low pay-off options offered by such resources. In the villages of the study, 60 to 90% of the rural poor depended on common property resources for fuel, fodder and food; the corresponding proportion of rich farmers did not exceed 20%. The heavy dependence of the rural poor links these resources to the dynamics of poverty and to development interventions centred on the poor. Therefore, any change in the status and productivity of common property resources directly influences the economy of the rural poor. The quantification of dependency of poor and non-poor on CPRs is shown in Table 4.
The average income in percentage form from CPRs in the three circles of the
study area is shown in the Fig. 1. The quantification of the
dependency of tribal people on CPR can be estab lished in various ways. Most
of the researchers are taking into consideration the household income in this
aspect. But the collection of quantities information about income from rural
areas in the tribal society is extremely difficult and over and under estimation
of collected data cannot be ignored.
|| Extent of households' dependence on common property resources
in the Study area
|1Fuel gathered from common property resources as
a proportion of total fuel used during three seasons covering the whole
year. 2Animal unit grazing days on common property as a proportion
of total animal unit grazing days
|| CPRs contribution to the total consumption expenditure
per month in 2009
|Source: Field survey, Note: P: Poor, N: Non poor, T: Total
|| Average income form CPRs in percentage in the study area
Following the Table 5 regarding poor and non-poor household
shows the total consumption expenditure of the household, value of CPR product
consumed and then the percentage of CPR product consumed to the total consumption
expenditure. It has been observed in the surveyed area that both the poor as
well as the non-poor household derive a substantial portion of their consumption
requirement from the CPR. The collected basket of CPR products consist of fuel
wood, edible leaves, roots, mushroom, fruits from jungles, fish from the river
and streams, hunted meat, etc. there is a marginal variation in the consumption
of CPR products among the villages.
On the average 20, 17 and 20% of the total consumption expenditures of the
poor household come from CPRs in Zemithang, Lumla and Mukto respectively while
15, 14 and 20% of total consumption expenditures of the Non poor household come
from CPRs in Zemithang, Lumla and Mukto respectively. On an average for three
villages, 17.71% of total expenditures depend upon CPRs for the purpose of consumption
requirement. If we find the mean value of CPRs Products Consumed for three villages,
we get Rs. 795 for Zemithang, Rs. 614 for Lumla and Rs. 752 for Mukto. In case
of consumption of items from CPRs, Zemithang is higher than Mukto but Lumla
is lowest among them. Again, if we calculate coefficient of variation (C.V.),
we get 5.66 for Zemithang, 0.33 for Mukto and 6.38 for Lumla. we see that there
is lesser variation in consumption of items from CPRs among the people of Lumla
than that of Zemithang and Mukto i.e., more consistency in consumption of items
from CPRs among the people of Lumla than that of Zemithang and Mukto as there
is lowest value of C.V. for Lumla. The value of C.V. is highest for Mukto meaning
that there is less consistency in consumption of items from CPRs among the people
of Mukto. From the discussion with the villagers, it was known to the author
that the dependency on CPRs is gradually decreasing year by year. As reason
they said that the villagers are migrating from village to town for livelihood
and education. This is due to the fact that higher level of schooling may have
better exit options due to high opportunity cost and hence, forest extraction
activities may be less attractive for those households. Besides, availability
of government sector jobs may well divert people from dependency on forests.
Again we can calculate how much do the unemployed and employed rural people
at their own local area depend on CPRs in the study area? In this respect we
can apply Yules Coefficient of Association following Yule method to see
correlation between employed and dependency on CPRs (Table 6).
Applying yules method for male:
||Let A denotes employment. Therefore, á would denote
||Let B denotes dependency on CPRs above 50%. Therefore, α would denote
dependency on CPRs below 50%
Construction of table for calculation yules coefficient of association
Thus, there is high negative association between the dependency on CPRs and employment of male meaning that increase in employment decreases the dependency upon CPRs.
Applying Yule,s method for female:
||Let A denotes employment. Therefore, á would denote
||Let B denotes dependency on CPRs above 50%. Therefore, α would denote
dependency on CPRs below 50%.
Construction of table for calculation Yules coefficient of association
Thus, there is low negative association between the dependency on CPRs and employment of female meaning that increase in employment decreases the dependency upon CPRs.
As per discussion of villagers, degradation of common land in 2011 in comparison to 2000 in the three villages is shown in the Table 7 and Fig. 2. We consider here three villages. The decline of common land was due to construction of roads, deployment of armed force to face the Chinese aggression on Tawang. The border in the district is under dispute particularly with Tibet (China) regarding Mac-Mohan Line1 until date. This border dispute led to the Chinese aggression of India in 1962, which was a turning point not only in the history of India but also in the development of the region under study. The result is subject to error and completely based on guess on the basis of discussion with villagers.
Difficulty for estimation: The estimation of income in anywhere of the
state is very difficult since the production at the village level is meant mainly
for home consumption. On the other hand, the level of monetization is very low.
Even after intensive survey, the income data suffers from a lot of errors. This
is because the respondents normally hesitate in reporting his/her income. The
level of literacy is very low in the study area. It is not possible to get the
reliable income data at the household level.
|| Percentage of dependency of employed and unemployed male
and female on CPRs
|Source: Field survey
|| Extent and decline in area of common property land in the
|Source: Field survey
|| Degradation common land im 2011 in comparison to 2000
Hence, we have no other alternative but to take a proxy variable of household
level consumption value from the community forest as well as total consumption
expenditure of household. For consumption purpose again various edibles, fuel,
house building materials etc. gathered from the CPRs are not generally marketed
and their valuation is a problem. We have taken their imputed value in estimation
of consumption. The data on quantities of different items gathered from forests
are dependable but the problem is the non-existence of their village level prices.
Some of these forest products are, no doubt, locally bartered but the exchange
rate in barter does not reveal the absolute prices which are necessary to arrive
at the value. Under these circumstances, we have to take into account of the
prices of these products prevailing in the nearest local market.
The study reveals that CPRs play an important role in the economy of the tribal people of the surveyed villages although the consumption value from community forest is higher for the non-poor households in absolute terms yet in relative terms, the poor households dependency on community forest is very important and crucial for their survival. Hence, there is urgent need to form sustainable management of CPRs, particularly the forests in order to avoid ‘the tragedy of commons. Therefore, there is an urgent need to strengthen the age-old traditional system of village council headed by Gaon Burah in addition to the village Panchayat with specific purpose of management of these resources.