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Man in Biosphere

Man in Biosphere – Anthropological Survey of India Man in Biosphere – Anthropological Survey of India Cultural Dimensions of Tourism, a national research project, was initiated in the Tenth Five Year Plan which was later reoriented as ‘Man in Biosphere’ to study the interface between development and conservation in Biosphere. India was a signatory of the Man and Biosphere Programme, launched by the UNESCO in 1970. It assumes importance in the light of the fact that man has been a part of Biosphere from time immemorial and was depending on the forest eco-system to meet all his basic requirements like food, shelter etc. After the declaration of the Biosphere Reserves, which are presently 14 in number, many issues have come to the fore due to the imposition of various regulations. Important ones are like biological and cultural diversity, relocation of the population, sustainable development of the population living in and around the Biosphere Reserve. The concept of Biosphere Reserve has always stressed the need to go beyond the ‘concentric zonation’ and consider man as an integral part of the Biosphere Reserve, especially because with out man it would not be possible to save any Biosphere Reserve. Cultural diversity has played a major role in a way as to how the biodiversity is perceived, maintained, preserved, used and appreciated. An understanding of all the aspects of human influence on biodiversity and the underlying driving force is of crucial importance for setting priorities, directing conservation and measures of sustainable use. Achievement of 2005-2006Field work completed in the three Biosphere Reserves namely Panchmari , Nilgiri and Sunderban. Field work was to be started in Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve. The reports except Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve was presented in three workshops held for this purpose – Panchmari Biosphere Reserve on 15 & 16th March, 2006 at Nagpur in which 7 reports were discussed and finalized. For Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve workshop was held on 19th – 21st March, 2006 at Mysore and 8 reports were discussed and finalized. Regarding Sunderban Biosphere Reserve workshop was held on 28 – 29 th March, 2006 at Kolkata in which 9 reports were discussed and finalized, apart from this two reports on Cultural Dimension on Tourism – Murshidabad and Bankura situation. For Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve one day workshop was organized to decide the issues and accordingly project proposals were prepared discussed and finalized (workshop held on 10th March, 2006 at Dehra Dun ) The researchers will proceed for field work in the month of May, 2006.The Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve field work is scheduled to start in the month of May, 2006 where five research scholars or research scientist will be working on different issues like tourism, ethnobotany and medicinal plant, natural resource appraisal and cultural diversity of the biosphere. The reports of Panchmari Biosphere Reserve are ready and editing work is in progress so that it can be submitted for publication. The research team working in this Biosphere will now work for Similipal Biosphere Reserve in Orissa and fieldwork is scheduled to start by the end of June, 2006. For Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve the reports are to be finalized in view of the suggestion and recommendation given by the experts in the workshop. The reports are supposed to be submitted by the end of April 2006 so that it can be made ready for publication. It has also been decided to take up fresh issues relating to rehabilitation of the community displaced from the core region of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve with a special reference to Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Nagarhole Wild Life Sanctuary. Other issues to be taken up for research are eco tourism and its impact on the local tribal population.Beside this, study is also being done to know the indigenous knowledge system in relation to resource utilization and forest management. Sunderban Biosphere Reserve reports are ready for editing and the same will be submitted for publication by the end of April, 2006. The research personnels working under this project would be deployed for Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in Sikkim. The field work is likely to be started by middle of May, 2006.On the basis of the data generated it is decided to hold a national conference entitled Man in the Biosphere sometime in the month of January-February, 2007.Outcome A National Conference ‘Man in Biosphere Reserve’ was organized from 26th to 28th February, 2007. Professor Yogesh Atal, Retired Principal Director in the UNESCO Sector for Social and Human Sciences, was the chief guest in the inaugural function while the key-note address was delivered by Professor P. S. Ramakrishnan, INSA, Emeritus Scientist, Jawaharlal Nehru University, School of Environmental Sciences, New Delhi. Prof D.P.Mukherjee presided over the valedictory function.Inauguration followed release of the three books on the three Biosphere Reserves (Man in Biosphere: A case Study of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Man in Biosphere Reserve: A Case Study of Sunderban Biosphere Reserve and Man in Biosphere Reserve: A Case Study of Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve) were released.The National Conference focused on five basic themes, viz., Biological and Cultural Diversity, Establishing linkages between biodiversity and cultural diversity, Relocation of the population, Ecotourism and Sustainable development for the population living in and around the Biosphere Reserve.In addition to the 25 in-house speakers, speakers from some of the eminent invited scholars (22) include Prof. Yogesh Atal, Prof. P.S. Ramakrishna, Prof. B.K. Mishra Department of Eco-development Planning & Participatory Management, Prof. Sarnam Singh, Depatment of Ecology and Forestry IIRS, Dr. Y.V.N. Krishna Murhthy, Director, Regional Remote Sensing Institute, Nagpur, Dr. S. Ganeshan, Director, Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute Palode, Prof. Jagannath Dash, Department of Anthropology, Utkal University, Prof. T. B. Subba, Dept. of Anthropology, North Eastern Hill University, Dr. Yogesh Dubey, IIFM, Prof. Ranjan Basu, Deptt. Of Geography,University of Calcutta, Kolkata, Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan, CARE EARTH and Mr. Santosh K. Mishra, Collector & District Magistrate, Nilgiri District, Ooty.The National Conference ‘Man in Biosphere Reserve’ concluded with a panel discussion.Recommendations of the panel discussion are:1) Better management of different biospheres keeping the ground realities in view 2) Need of the hour is not to control the needs of people but to control the greed of the people 3) An integrated approach need to be adopted to facilitate better policy formulations taking in to consideration of factors like environment, displacement, migration and rehabilitation 4) Better forest management plans integrating all forms of eco-development involving local communities in biosphere 5) Long term Master Plan for an all round development of forest eco-system ensuring the people a right to utilize minor forest produce 6) Generating employment for local communities with in the biosphere 7) To prevent the degeneration of eco-system, eco-tourism should be developed with the co-ordinated efforts of both forest and tourism departments, keeping the environment impact assessment in view 8) protection of cultural landscapes for an overall development of local populations .Experts are of the opinion that till now Anthropologists stressed too much either on preservation of environment or on the survival of people, but the need is for a more balanced approach. Interestingly many experts said that there was no cause to panic, as far as conservation of biosphere is concerned. But developing better coping mechanisms for any crisis in future should not be overlooked. Another view that emerged stressed the need for research on management of situations in natural disasters. Similipal Bio-Sphere Reserve A two month long intensive field study in the Similipal Biosphere Reserve was undertaken to document local knowledge in conservation and biodiversity and to advocate the importance of the people’s participation in the Biosphere Reserve management as an environmental stake holder and to take a proactive approach, so that the development work is in tune with their culture and value system.Besides conducting a thorough socio-economic and anthropological survey of the four core and nine buffer villages, an in-depth study of the issues: 1. Indigenous Management of Land and Forest Resources, 2. Religion and World View, 3. Folk Music and Dance, 4. Material Culture, 5. Impact of Development, 6. Ethno-Medical and Health Culture, 7. Impact of Tourism, 8. Watershed Management and 9. Change in Land Use Pattern were undertaken. All preliminary reports were presented in the workshop held on 27th – 28th April, 2007 at Bhubaneswar. The main objective of the work shop was to initiate a dialogue between the survey scholars and the custodians of the forest, the chief conservator and biodiversity officials.

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