Man in the Forest: Local Knowledge and Sustainable Management of Forests and Natural Resources in Tribal Communities in India
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Short DescriptionsThe articles examine the indigenous knowledge on trees and forests among tribal communities from diverse regions of India, particularly the significance of such knowledge for use and management of natural resources.
In the management of renewable resources, forests have undeniably a vital role. And today, more than ever before, their conservation is an urgency. In view of this dire necessity, Man in the Forest tries to highlight the high relevance of indigenous knowledge of Indian tribal communities in the sustainable management of forests/local resources — more specially against the growing challenges of economic development vis-a-vis environmental hazards and a declining resource base. A scientific inquiry into the area of ‘indigenous knowledge’ is basically an effort to discover/rediscover (in the tribals’ traditional modes of production and conservation) appropriate means to cope with the problems of modernity affecting largely the lives of the poor: not only in precarious environments, but amidst fast-depleting local resources as well. Essentially a selection of papers: based on cross-cultural, interdisciplinary investigations, the book takes a critical look at both the ascribed benefits and limitations of indigenous knowledge in general, and with regard to forest management by local tribal people in particular. Also including, contextually, an overview of the various aspects of forests lifestyles, forest use, and management of natural resources in different climatic and cultural zones on the subcontinent, the authors emphasize the social meaning of forests as a cultural legacy — with case studies from different regions of India, namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. It is the first volume in the the newly-launched series about ‘Man and Forest’ in South Asia, putting together research findings that represent accounts of experience and empirical evidence in the fields of forest management, social anthropology, ethno-botany, economy, forest policy and cultural history.