Nagaland: With 88. 3% of forest wealth under control of individuals & communities, they have more roles to play in conservation and protection of wildlife as compared to the government , says states forest department. (Morung File Photo)
More than the government, communities have more roles to play in conservation, protection of wildlife: Forest Dept
DIMAPUR, APRIL 16 (MExN): In Nagaland, only 11.7 % of forest wealth is under the control of the state government while the lion’s share which is 88.3% of forest wealth is under control of individuals/communities, where the government’s regulation is limited.
In such an environment, communities have to play more roles in conservation and protection of wildlife as compared to the government, stated Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF- Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Nagaland, Satya Prakash Tripathi to stakeholders during his tour of Community Reserve Forests in different districts of Nagaland.
The Wildlife Wing, Nagaland Forest Department led by PCCF Tripathi; Wildlife Warden, Dimapur K. Caroline Angami, along with frontline staff had visited Community Reserve Forests at Tsiepama, Murakjo/Chemakong (Yizma, Lishiyo and Mongphio villages), D. Khel, Mezoma, Chishilimi, Tsuruhu, Khekiye, Lizutomi, Aizuto, Kigwema between March 13 to April 14, 2018.
The team held meetings and interactions with the Village Councils, GBs, Chairmen and members of Community Reserve Forest committee of all the villages, a press release received from the PCCF (Wildlife) & CWLW, Nagaland stated.
During the interactions, Tripathi explained that Community Reserve Forests are forests owned and managed by the community and that it has been accorded protection under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. These were added due to reduced protection in view of private ownership of land and land use.
Tripathi highlighted that as per the study at global level, 18% of the geographical area should be covered under Protected Area Network (National Park, Wildlife Sanctuary, Conservation Reserve, Community Reserve). This is around 5% at the national level. In Nagaland, the government owned protected areas includes: Intanki National Park which is 202. 20 sq. km; Puliebadze Wildlife Sanctuary with 9.23 sq. km, Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary with 6.40 sq.km and Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary having 23. 57 sq. km.
The total coverage area of these four government owned protected area is only 241. 20 sq. km, which Tripathi pointed out, stand at a dismal 1.45% of the total geographical area of the state (16579 sq. km).
However, he said, in Nagaland, most of villages conserve and protects their forest through community conservation initiatives called Community Conservation Areas. The Energy Research Institute, New Delhi has identified 407 CCAs, spread over 11 district, as per International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] guidelines. These CCAs are befitted to be declared as Community Reserves. The Government of Nagaland has so far notified 18 Community Reserve in the state.
Tripathi also dwelt on the intrinsic relationship that forest, wildlife and human beings share and their interdependence on each other. He explained as to how forests are vitally important for preserving adequate water supplies, purifying the air, stabilizing the climate and enriching the soil. Forests, he said, are a natural habitat for wild animals and that the diversity of life forms can be saved by securing their natural habitats. He also explained about the vast economic benefits of forests such as timbers, fire woods, edible fruits, medicinal plants etc.
K. Caroline Angami, Wildlife Warden, Dimapur, appreciated the noble intentioned initiative of the village communities to protect and preserve the wildlife and its habitat. She assured the villages of the fullest co-operation and all possible help from the side of the department towards their noble endeavour, the press release stated. All queries related to Community Reserve Forest Areas raised by the public were answered by the PCCF (wildlife) & CWLW, Nagaland.