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A Methodology Manual for Documenting People's Priorities
for Biodiversity and Conservation

D. Winfred Thomas (1)
P.R. Sheshgiri Rao (2)
Yogesh Gokhale (3)
Utkarsh Ghate (2, 3, 5)
Prof. Madhav Gadgil (2, 4, 5)

1) Dept. of Botany, The American College, Madurai 625 002, India.
2) Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India.
3) RANWA, 16, Swastishree Society, Ganesh Nagar, Pune 411 052, India.
4) Biodiversity Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Jakkur, Bangalore 560 064, India.
5) Srushtigyaanpeeth, Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions, 50, MSH Layout, 2nd Cross, 5th Main, Anandnagar, Bangalore 560 024, India.


The concept of `involving people in conservation and development planning' is gaining roots today. Terms such as `participatory rural appraisal' or `joint forest management' have become the buzzword in the activist and government circles. However, few have started questioning the `we decide and implement, you participate' kind of approach often adopted on the ground by the Government and the NGOs, while dealing with such issues. This is partly because of the unfortunately dearth of a good and accessible methodology manual for participatory approach. Thus, we badly felt the need for such a fieldguide, when we launched the recent project to document peoples priorities for biodiversity conservation. By now, our group had gathered considerable experience of working on similar issues in the Western Ghats, as a part of the activities of the Center for Ecological Sciences. This prompted us to synthesize ourselves a primer on field methodology.

Aquiring people's confidence for obtaining reliable information is a challenging task. We have advocated here activities spread over nearly an year for an indepth understanding. However, several important tips and tools in the manual could also be of help in rapid rural appraisal. I request the readers to advise us on improveming the manual, so that the next version can address those concernss, with due acknowledgements.




1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background 1.2 Rationale 1.3 Objectives 1.4 Methodology 1.5 Activity chart 1.6 Schedule and organisation 1.7 Outputs and follow-up 1.8 About documenting peoples knowledge 2.0 ABOUT THE MANUAL AND SUPPORT 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Terms and definations 2.3 Support systems 2.4 Support material 2.5 Limitations 3.0 THE TEAM 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Sharing of responsibilities 3.3 Discussions amongst members 4.0 QUALITATIVE DATA COLLECTION 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Data collection and interpretation 4.3 Barriers in data flow and Solutions 4.4 Efforts in data collection 5.0 COMPILATING AND PROCESSING QUALITATIVE DATA 5.1 Introduction 5.2 How to do data reduction 5.3 How to do data compartmentalization 5.4 Data display and interpretation 5.5 Projection and forecasting 6.0 TOOLS 6.1 Introduction 6.2 Interviews 6.3 Field visits 6.4 Group discussions (GD) 6.5 Gram Sabha (or combined group discussion) 6.6 Mapping (habitation and landscape) 6.7 Tips for using tools PART II. PROJECT ACTIVITIES 7.0 SELECTION OF STUDY AREA 7.1 Introduction 7.2 Selection of study zones 7.3 Selection of study area 8.0 APPROACHING THE VILLAGE AND TRUST BUILDING 8.1 Introduction 8.2 Do's and Don'ts 8.3 Explaining the purpose 8.4 Experience 9.0 PRELIMINARY DATA COLLECTION 9.1 Introduction 9.2 Village profile 9.3 Identification of user groups 9.4 Mapping the habitation and landscape 9.5 Field visits with knowledgable individuals (KI) 9.6 Data recording 9.7 Presentation in Gram Sabha I 10.0 ASSESSING PROTECTION, UTILIZATION AND NUISANCE 10.1 Introduction 10.2 Homework: Biodiversity Dynamics 10.3 Group discussion I 10.4 Homework weighing conservation efforts 11.0 DERIVING LOCAL MANAGEMENT HISTORY AND OPTIONS 11.1 Introduction 11.2 Field visit: Ecological History 11.3 Group Discussion II: Management Options 11.4 Homework 11.5 Group discussion III 11.6 Gram Sabha II 11.7 Gram Sabha III: The Villagers First Agenda 12.0 CONSERVATION VIS A VIS DEVELOPMENT ASPIRATIONS 12.1 Introduction 12.2 Individual interviews: Aspirations 12.3 Homework: Development and Conservation 12.4 Gram sabha III: Finalizing Biodiversity Stratergy 13.0 REPORT WRITING 13.1 Credits and Responsibilites 13.2 Chapterisation PART III. ANNEXURES 14.0 ANNEXURES a) Text: 14.1 Summary of case studies in Western Ghats 14.2 A scheme of landscape classification for India 14.3 Exemplary LSE data sheet 14.4 Exemplary species data sheet 14.5 Exlempary time, manpower and financial budget b) Diagrams: 14.6 Profile diagrams of various natural LSE types a) Forest vegetation b) Nonforest vegetation 14.7 Exemplery perception on elphants and conservation c) Maps:- 14.8 Map of the biogeographic zones covered in BCPP 14.9 Depiction of contours in a topographic map 14.10 Field mapping exercise demonstration a) Historical and current landscape, bioresources flow b) Mapping of entire locality in phases

I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND Biodiversity Conservation Prioritization Project (BCPP) is an Indian, participatory project run by a national steering committee with funds channelized by (World Wide Fund for Nature) W.W.F. - India. The project has been funded by the Biodiversity Support Programme of the (World Wide Fund for Nature) W.W.F. - U.S. The project would result in transparent public documentation of priority areas, species and strategies for biodiversity conservation in India. One subgroup would work separately on identifying priority sites and species while the other will focus on conservation statergies. The main task of conservation statergies subgroup is to prepare a realistic, objective account of perceptions of various sectors of the society about biodiversity conservation. It will not lead to a rigid set of prescriptions but would present the whole spectrum of viable strategic options under a range of socio-economic, political and ecological conditions. Thus, while the first subgroup would answer `what' and `where' to conserve, the second subgroup would develop an understanding of `how' to conserve. The Conservation Strategies sub - project would have two main components: a) Documenting knowledge and perceptions of local people about biodiversity and conservation at the village/ panchayat level using Community Biodiversity Register (CBR) as a methodology. b) Recording perceptions of Govt. functionaries, NGOs, NGIs, Industries and other cross sections of the society from village Panchayat level to District, State, National level in response to the village panchayat level experience. 1.2 RATIONALE : The problem of assigning conservation priorities is generally posed as one of deciding upon what biological taxa and what geographical localities to focus on. So we have lists of endangered species and inventories of localities to be incorporated in the system of protected areas. Having answered "what" and "where", it is taken for granted that "how" is a straightforward matter of according protection through state regulation. But it is increasingly evident that this simple answer to the complex problem of how to conserve might be totally misleading. For it implies imposing costs of conservation entirely on the local communities living inside, or on the periphery of protected areas or affected by protected species elsewhere. In an increasingly crowded country where the tribal and rural populations are beginning to assert themselves, such imposition of costs on local communities is being vigorously questioned. Furthermore, commercial interests such as mining are also refusing to keep off these islands of protected areas. Such a system focusing on a few islands of diversity also means little attention to the entire wealth of biodiversity, such as of medicinal herbs or wild relatives of cultivated plants distributed in a whole range of natural, semi-natural, even heavily human impacted habitats over the rest of the country. It is then imperative that we take a second look at the currently operating paradigm of protecting biodiversity, with guns and guards, in a few selected islands, an approach supported by a relatively narrow, largely urban, elite. In its place we may aim at conserving or more often restoring biodiversity over the entire landscape and waterscape of the country, through support and active participation of broader masses of people. In this context it is important to stress that human presence, even use can well be compatible with maintenance of high levels of biodiversity. Thus, scientists of the Botanical Survey of India described a few years ago a new species in the first record of a genus of a leguminous climber, Kunstleria in a sacred grove in the thickly settled coastal plains of Kerala. The question, rather is not just of presence or exclusion of people but that of their motivation. The highest priority in designing our conservation programme cannot then be merely physically listing significant species or localities, but rather in understanding the processes involved in motivating people to conserve, restore or decimate biodiversity. It is only when such an understanding is available, that we would be able to work out a new paradigm for conserving biodiversity : that of motivating people, all over the country to maintain or create an environmental matrix with high levels of biodiversity. It is possible that with this approach no single locality may have as high levels of diversity as some of the isolated pockets of diversity harbour today. But the sum total of countrywide diversity would surely be vastly greater than in a few isolated pockets. Moreover most people would now be in a position to enjoy the experience of such diversity. This will turn out to be a far more sustainable approach. 1.3 OBJECTIVES To gain an appreciation of : (a) Ongoing ecological changes and how these changes affect levels of biodiversity. (b) How people belonging to different socio-economic strata, and with varying roles in the political and administrative system view these changes, and the driving forces behind these changes. (c) The variety of measures people suggest to encourage biodiversity friendly processes of environmental change, and to discourage forces adverse to maintenance/ restoration of biodiversity. (d) How measures friendly to biodiversity can be implemented on ground at the village, district, state, national and international levels. 1.4 METHODOLOGY I. The attempt would be to gain such an understanding through investigations sampling the major environmental regimes of the country in the following regions: (1) Himachal Pradesh (2) Rajasthan (3) Orissa (4) Gangetic tracts of Bihar (5) Karnataka (6) Assam (7) Andaman and Nicobar Islands. II. The project would involve two major elements: a) Field surveys in about 10 village clusters in each of these 7 regions. b) Discussing the insights generated through studies at the village level with other major actors, especially politicians, administrators, technical experts and NGOs successively at three higher spatial scales, namely - district, state and country as a whole. III. The village clusters in each region would be selected so as to represent the different ecological regimes within the region e.g. Coastal plains, Western Ghats hills, Deccan plateau in Karnataka; different contexts in terms of protected areas eg. tribal hamlets within a National park, villages on the periphery of a wild life sanctuary, villages near extensive tracts of reserve forests, villages away from reserve forest areas, as also villages well connected to markets, villages isolated from markets and so on. IV. In each village cluster particular care will be taken to understand the perceptions, knowledge. livelihood options, motivations of different communities as well as women and men. Thus extensive interviews will be separately conducted with groups like fisherfolk, nomadic shepherds, basketweavers. landless agricultural labourers, landowners, traders etc., and with the women from these communities. V. The investigators will focus on the following groups of living organisms, since there is widespread understanding of these groups both amongst lay people and technical experts: economically useful plants, fishes, birds and larger mammals. 1.5 SITE ACTIVITY CHART 1. Selection of study area. 2. Approaching the village community and identifying different user groups in relation to biodiversity. 3. Establishing people's confidence and communication. 4. Initial documentation of village, people, landscape, bioresources and information through primary and secondary sources and the validation of these data. 5. Detailed documentation of utilization and protection of bioresources by each user group. 6. Assessing historical and current trends and likely future course of changes in biodiversity and the forces driving these changes. 7. Identifying management pratices of local people and outsiders and their developmental aspirations vis a vis biodivesity conservation. 8. Identifying management options that would be biodiversity friendly and minimize the conflicts between different sections of villagers and outsiders. 9. Discussing conservation strategies thus derived through dialogue with local communities at successively higher levels, and providing the feedback from these levels to the village communities. 1.6 SCHEDULE AND ORGANISATION The project duration is from June 1996 to August 1997. The village level studies - stage would be completed in about six months. The second stage - discussions with outsiders are expected to be conducted during the next three months. The last three months would be devoted to report writing. The state nodal agency/ coordinator would provide the necessary guidance to local teams; from time to time. This includes selecting a village identifying social structure of the village, mapping the landscape documenting history of the landscape and species, recording their usage and conservation practices, seeking people's management options, discussing these with outsiders, resolving some of the conflicts between people and or outsiders, report writing and planning. This guidance and monitoring would be ensured through state level training programme as well as co- ordinators periodical visits to all project sites. Representatives from Center for Ecological Sciences would also periodically visit the field sites or conduct training programmes for sharing knowledge, building up methodology, monitoring and so on. State nodal agency will channelise performance based financial installments to the local agencies at the advice of state co-ordinator. This would help the local agencies to appoint an investigator, a few volunteers, a few village assistants and meet the travel, food, secreterial expenses etc., including auditing. 1.7 OUTPUTS AND FOLLOW-UP The report will be in the local language so that it can benefit local people in their biodiversity management and it will be mainly accredited to the local team. The co-ordinator and the executive committee would collect the data from local teams and will be responsible for a state wide report atleast in English. W.W.F.- India will have the credit of being the national funding agency for wider publicity and movement, while the local state and national credits will be shared by the respective agencies in aforesaid manner. Each state nodal agency will computerise, process and pass on information to the Center for Ecological Sciences that will be responsible for the national level report. The agencies involved will have to find out follow-up mechanism for the plans and stratergies generated during the project - both at village level and at policy/ legal level. Although the focuss is on wild plants and animals, the project can help all the concerned agencies and individuals to develop larger prespective of ground level natural resource management and translating peoples proirities into state/ national planning. It is hoped that project would, most appreciably initiate a long term network of educational institutions and NGOs for grassroot policy research and follow up action. 1.8 VIEWS ABOUT DOCUMENTING PEOPLE'S KNOWLEDGE Srushtigyaan is the documentation of people's knowledge of nature, its utilization and conservation. The information generated through modern science about these aspects is considered to be a seperate effort - Srushtivigyan. The Community Biodiversity Register (CBR) is a component of `Srushtigyaan'. CBR is envisaged as a record of knowledege, perceptions and attitudes of people towards biodiversity, its utilization and conservation. A CBR document is supposed to cover a village or a panchayat. As of today, local people are seldom seen taking up documentation and furtherence of their knowledge in a adaptive fashion. This is due to traditional attitude as well as the cultural shock due to the rapid socio-economic changes of late. Thus, it is being planned that local school/ college teachers/ students or NGOs or NGIs etc. would take up the documentation of neighbouring village panchayats all over the country in an organised fashion. Thus, CBR would have a component of Srushtivigyaan too - the interfaces between local people's knowledge and modern science e.g. local vernacular plant names and corresponding botanical nomenclature. This would help interpretation of local people's knowledge in the modern context also. Such an interface between the practical ecological or so called `traditional' knowledge and the modern science is variously discredited by many. The main contention is that the modern science; and in turn its dictators - the rich and the mighty -would benefit from such an unequal marriage at the detriment of the `traditional' knowledge and its stake holders - the pratical ecologists of the countryside. There are several evidences of similar processes operating around in the past and present. A fundamental question would thus be how and why CBR would not fuel such unjust developments? Most common apprehension is the possible misuse of CBR by say multinational pharmaceuticals to find out plants of interest and recklessly exploit it to drive it to extinction; patent the knowledge inspired by the local people and make huge benefits out of it. To our minds, such allegations are often over-projected or excessively blown up. We feel that this would not happen given certain facts and conditions. In fact, we strongly believe that only CBR and supporting framework can check such malpractises and subsequent inequitable development. To begin with, let us identify the possible enduses of different major sections of CBR. There are three major sections (a) knowledge and facts about species, their uses, and techniques (b) other knowledge and facts say culture or history (c) their developmental and conservation framework. It is mainly the people's knowledge about availability of a given species, its uses and relevant skill/ techniques that is of particular interest to enterprenures. Even today such information about over 7500 flowering plants collected from people all over India already exists in published literature and reports for limited circulation. However, it is available mostly in global information system and the `market forces' not so much to common man, villagers. The other kind of information such as landscape and ecological history, driving forces, management options etc. is neither interesting to the `market forces' nor used/ documented by the government or NGOs/ NGIs and not available to common man, villagers. So the local natural resource management is never based on local wisdom and not many want to to be. The third kind of information that pertains to their priority for biodiversity, its utilization and conservation is neither documented nor available to common man or government. Neverthless, activists often voice their own worldview as representative of people's aspirations, without systematic evidence and feasible stratergy. Hence, they are discredited as being extremist, irrational by the government. It would then be very clear that the sections of pratical ecological knowledge of local people and their management options conservation priorities contain a little that can be misused by the big and the rich. In fact, a CBR in local language would help local people - panchayat and other governmental institutions to better manage their natural resources; unlike today. Activists can use CBR as a tool to validate their concern and pragmatic stratergy/ action plan. Thus, there is every reason for CBR compilations along these lines; as a tool of people's empowerment rather than subjugation and suffering in future. Even in case of species, people's knowledge could be divided into three major categories. The first relates to the kind of species or uses that have been widely reported from literature or in vogue - `public domain'. This is readily available to the rich and mighty, and they are already using it as in case of Neem, and indeed worrisome. Incorporating such knowledge in CBR causes no additional concern, as it is already available. The other kind of peoples knowledge is about species availability and abundance. The pharmaceuticals are fully aware of these aspects about species of their interest, already have their local contractors network well knit throughout India and are exploiting all the raw material thoughtlessly at cheapest possible rates. It is the local people who do not know the profits made from their services and by liquidating their services; and it is the Indian government or activists or intellegencia that is unaware of species distribution and abundances, trade volume, changes and priorities. So CBRs, if generated in several parts of India, would provide us, rather than the enterprenures, a good understanding of what is happening to our precious natural wealth, and what needs to be corrected. It will also help local people to understand the market forces and their exploitation - and they can stake higher claim through a participatory process in periodic CBR activities. Third category of people's wisdom relates to the `secret' kind of knowledge about species or uses or techniques not reported/ talked about earlier - which is largely in the `private' domain of individuals or communities. There are serious contentions, and rightly so, about misuse of this knowledge. We do not encourage people to record such knowledge in CBR unless protective framework is established. Center for Ecological Sciences and its associates such as Foundation for Revitilization of Local Health Traditions are making full efforts to push forth legal and policy framework to prevent and punish misuse of such privaten knowledge brought into the public domain. We are fully convinced that within such a framework one can safely document not the actual knowledge but one can safely claim about such knowledge by its stake holders. Documentation of such claims and claimants across the country through CBRs would provide the only sound mechanism of equitable benefit sharing whether through national funds or community grants or personal awards or transfer agreements. The pharmaceuticals are well capable of, and already engaged in, dislodging such knowledge by spending on the villagers. Neither the villagers know the worth and exploitation of their wisdom nor do the other individuals and communities across the country who share the knowledge know about their stake of profit being denied. What would thus prevent us from such anarchy is only a system of country wide transparent public documentation of such knowledge and source or its claims and claimants and its sharing by all the sectors of the nation, through computer networks and other media. There are several steps that we need to collectively initate at all levels, to overcome the mighty hurdles in the way of countrywide documentation of peoples knowledge and its sharing with all the concerned individuals and agencies. Reorienting our educational, bureaucratic systems and financial mechanisms is arguably a major challenge. But even those who disbelieve in the possibility of a legal framework and countrywide system of CBRs to protect the `private' domain knowledge; cannot rule out the other benefits of CBR in particular and Srustigyaan in general. So, it is then only wise to initiate such a nationwide movement. One more apprehension about CBRs, especially aired in `scientific' fora is the quality of information and degree of correlation of peoples knowledge and modern science. It is feared that the quality of information would be low due to two factors. Firstly, people may not like to express their knowledge, views, attitudes due to suspision and their psychology and the information could be poor. It is difficult to overcome this, and even after all the confidence building measures as suggested in the manual, some knowledge would always remain hidden. The less sensitive information can be extracted better and this would be quite useful for overall objectives. Secondly, they may give wrong or misleading information in case they are persuaded too much but do not wish to share the full or right kind of knowledge with us. Both these possibilites cannot be ruled out, but certainly minimised through a series of validations. This validation process is inbuilt into the methodology envisaged here. For instance, the ecological history views or management options suggested by knowledgeable individuals during the field visits are referred to the group discussions and later these outcomes of various group discussions are brought up in the Gram Sabha. Thus, one can pick up the information that is agreed upon during all the three phases as more valid than the rest. Such a validated information is termed as the anthropological truth. Another issue pertains to compatibility and correlation between the anthropological truth and the modern science. For instance, one could ask, how far accurately the vegetation types or species have been identified in varnacular and more so, technically? This depends on efforts put in by the investigators. More efforts such as many all season and all time field visits with many local people would unearth greater information on more species and validate it better. This would also provide greater scope for investigator to collect or enlist or sketch the distinguishing characters of the species and refer to the experts. The quality of scientific advice would also matter a lot. We can achieve sound information only with greater and better inputs by all and one involved in this endeavour. Intellectual issues aside, at the grassroot level people are worried that the documentation of their using natural resources would lead to their subsequent repression by the government. They are also worried about immediate commercial misuse although they cannot imagine its scale and fashion. This suspision proves a stumbling block in retreiving any other information too, as people tend to be very sensitive. We need to explain people that we are not interested in either. Nevertheless, one is free to refrain from documenting any such sensitive information if people are strongly against it. An other practical problem investigators face throughout is the apprehensions about futility of such research. Most frequently asked question is whether such documentation would generate immediate benefits or policy and administrative changes. Some in fact even question remotest possibility of any policy and legal changes ever being made. This study would be taken up only those who appreciate that the wildlife/ environmental policies/ laws that were non-existent a few decades back, were enacted although with an anti-people orientation in the last couple of decades; but of late, they have been also showing signs of pro- people change. It is difficult but not impossible to convince ourselves and local people that positive changes will occur if all of us make commited efforts. Whether this will convince local people in the absence of tangible local level and short- term benefits, is a matter governed by local socio-economic environmental conditions of history. But this convitiction gives us and like minded people the spirit to persuade this agenda with greatest enthusiasm and vigour. In essence, we should surge ahead in documenting public knowledge of biodiversity, its utilization, protection and overall management. We need not document the sensitive knowledge about species or skills or tehniques that may lead to intellectual property rights or user disputes. However, barring this all the aforesaid components viz. ecological knowledge, management options, developmental aspirations and conservation priorites, need to be documented across the country in increasing vigour. Using such well rooted and prescriptive documents, pressure should be built upon the government to formulate and implement pro-people and participatory plans, policies and legislations. We earnestly believe that the intended BCPP stratergies programme would mark the beginning of a pragmatic nationwide movement in the larger and long term interest of people and biodiversity. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 2.0 ABOUT THE MANUAL AND THE SUPPORT 2.1 INTRODUCTION This manual is designed as a user friendly field guide for human-nature interaction studies. For the immediate purpose it focuses on biodiversity conservation prioritization studies at village level. No formal academic background is needed for using the manual. The manual will help the user understand the following: a) How to establish rapport and communication with people. b) How to document the usage and values of different biodiversity elements by various human groups at the level of village landscape. c) How to reconstruct historical patterns, ongoing changes in the landscape and bioresources and their likely impact on people and biodiversity. d) To trace the evolution of management practices involving human groups resulting in current pattern of biodiversity changes. e) To document management priorities and measures relevant to various human groups for biodiversity conservation and how much significance people attach to biodiversity conservation priorities relative to their overall developmental aspirations. f) To identify the area of consensus, and more importantly conflicts arising out of different priorities and management options by various human groups and to devise ways to minimize these conflicts. g) To crystalize feasible conservation stratergies based on people's priorities with the overall understanding generated as above. The manual consists of twelve chapters or modules organised under three parts. Each module explains a specific activity or a topic. The first part introduces the user to the concept of data collection and how to select appropriate methods after setting the targets. In this sense, this manual may help many exercises involving people. The second part more specifically describes the course of activities intended for this project. The investigators would choose a locality specific modus operand using both the parts of the manual. The third part consists of Annexures which include guidelines for landscape classification and mapping and summary of case studies from Western Ghats. 2.2 TERMS AND DEFINATIONS: Landscape element: A landscape element (LSE) is a patch within a landscape homogeneous in appearence and distinct from surrounding patches. These LSEs may belong to a variety of LSE types e.g. pond, road, forest, habitation etc. Each LSE type may be represented by several LSEs in a landscape. Thus, there may be five ponds or three forest pathches or seven roads. Alternatively, we can say that there are five elements belonging to the type pond; three to the forest or seven to the road. Each patch is a seperate LSE. Its type could be any of these or others e.g. river. For our purpose, we may consider only LSEs as patches larger than 0.25 ha (which is easily seen and distinguished from a distance) say a field or linear elements eg., stream, long enough (say 1000m or more ). A landscape is thus composed of several patches (LSEs) belonging to a few types (land or water; linear or polygonal). Primarily depending upon the nature of human impacts, many patches (and thus the whole landscape) keep on changing into other types. These changes can be broadly classified into those leading to more natural or more manmade types (or landscapes). Although the latter degradative changes are frequently recorded and talked about, changes towards more natural types (or landscape as a whole) are also often observed. These include forest regeneration on earlier shifting cultivation sites or areas clearfelled by the forest department and abandoned later. Thus we need to understand the changes taking place in a particular patch and pooling the information from all patches resulting changes at the level of types and landscape. User Group: A group of people using living resources in a similar fashion, and quite distinct from other such groups. This often reflects different livelihood stratergies. Thus farmers, artisans, women, children could be some examples of the user groups. An individual person may be a part of more than one user group. Thus, if in a village, most women collect firewood and vegetable herbs, they may constitute a user group. But if some of them are also engaged in bamboo crafts, which is an activity conducted by men too; `artisans' becomes another user group. Some womens would thus belong to both `women' and `artisans' as far as user group classification goes. These user groups are often, but not necessarily caste or ethinc groups. In fact, in the user group say owners of fishing trawlers, one may have people from various castes, creeds or sexes. Thus user group concept should be flexibly applied according to the local conditions and purpose. Anthropological thruth: Any proposition believed to be correct by many people in a community, especially those coming from different sectors. It may or may not correspond what we call as scientific truth. However, it is the anthropological truth and not so much the scientific truth that plays a key role in social organization and functioning. Hence, its understanding is of utmost importance to a student of the human communities. These beliefs can be carefully utilized to motivate the local people, as the arguments based on these would find ready acceptance. Intelligent presentation of anthropological truths is thus another dimension of our study. Documentation of anthropological truths are related to biodiversity/ natural ecosystem conservation prioritization is the backbone of our study. An excellent example of an anthropological truth is reporting of reduction in rainfall alll over the countryside. Although scientific data does not overrule this possibility, definitive examples are rare. The changes still appear to within the natural limits of climatic fluctuations. However, environmentalists have effectively nurtured and used this anthropological truth to project importance of forests and plantation in water cycle and subsequently promoting reforestation movements. Prioritization: At the simplest level, prioritization will involve listing all the options suggested and discussed with people, and then ranking them on the basis of how many people/ groups/ villages/ states choose which option. More complex and contentious issue would be attaching weights and values to various people, groups, villages, states on the basis of their number, representativeness, social position, level of study etc. One can then even evaluate each option and priority. It is expected that we would not attach our biases to the priorities and document what majority of people suggest as viable options. Protection: Protection means preventing the practises that are leading to or may lead to exhaustion or dwindling of a species population or an LSE. It is often seen as an act of saving a species from excessive exploitation for local/ an commercial demands such as ban on fishing or hunting during breeding period of fishes and animals or collecting plant parts without uprooting the stem. However at times even species very abundant or not apparently likely to be very useful or dwindling also receive protection e.g. fig trees. Utilization: The process of extracting and consuming material from a species or LSE. Utilization is said to be sustainable if the species/ LSE is not found to change its abundance/ distribution over considerable time period. However, defining the length of the time period and abundance are contentious of species issues. It is generally argued that if many villagers confirm that a practice has not lead to shrinking or dwindling of a species/ LSE over the last few decades, it can be considered sustainable. On the other hand, a significantly declining trend in the resource in view of the villagers can be considered as unsustainable. Of course there may be empirical secondary data (records/ literature) to substantiate this interpretation e.g. fish production figures over the years from a river. Conservation: Conservation envisages either protection or both utilization and protection. In this sense, conservation resembles sustainable utilization. Thus, it may include utilization of a species or LSE but without significant trend of decline over time scale of few generations. In such cases it may imply either utilization well within the limits of natural productivity or special efforts for full or part protection (in space ot time). Or else it may include no utilization and subsequent conservation. Bench Marks: Bench marks or reference points are communication aids used in interviews and other occasions to help interviewers to promote more reliable data flow. These may be classified according to the objectives, such as: 1. Historical Bench Marks 2. LSE Bench Marks a) Historical Bench Marks (HBM): These are used to identiy the past events in a study area through interviwes or any other tool described in the manual. For example the team might wish to ask for an estimate of population of tigers in an area during 1960s. The team should Identify a well known event that took place during 1960s, like building of a temple, death of a prominent personality in that area, flood, earth quake etc. Out of these select an event which is known to most of the individuals in the study area. The selected event becomes the bench mark for 1960s. Whenever the team wants to know anything from the respondent in connection with 1960s, that event can be a reference point for the respondent. It follows that there could be many HBMs in a given area, and one needs to choose amongst them depending upon the purpose. b) LSE Bench mark (LBM): These are used for estimating the past or likely future status of the LSEs. Select any well known LSEs of the pertinent type that the investigator judges as highly degraded or degraded or moderately degraded or well preserved etc., on basis of visual estimate and the kind of human influence people report. Use these LSEs as reference points to assess status for other LSEs of that type. It is possible that you may not get the whole gradation for every LSE type to serve as benchmark. For documenting the past or forecasting the future status of the same or other LSEs, let different repondents compare these with the benchmark LSEs. Sometimes, people may know examples of well preserved LSEs from not the same village but some other place they might have visited. In such case, discuss its physical appearance and level of human influence to arrive at your judgement. 2.3 SUPPORT SYSTEMS For succesful completion of the project, following support systems and delegaton of responsibility is visualised _________________________________________________________________ Personnal/ Responsibility Degree of Agency involvement _________________________________________________________________ 1) Investigating * Collection, processing and team presentation of ( Investigator documentation. + Student * Participation in Total + local discussions at various persons) levels. * Report preparation. 2) A sample of * Informants. villagers * Participation in (Different discussion at various Total user groups levels and decision +knowledgeable making. individuals (KIs) 3) A sample of * Informants Partial seasonal migrants 4) Trade * Informants Partial enterprises and Industries depend upon Bioresources 5) State, District * Informants Partial local government authorities and politicians 6) Colloborating * Sharing personnel Partial Institutions * Sharing infrastructure and individuals * Biological Identification 7) Nodal agency * Administration Participatory * Finance * Computerization * Supporting materials 2.4 SUPPORTING MATERIAL: To generate background information for overall perspective of the study area following materials can be considered. Many of them may turn out to be useful, indeed necessary, others of little use. Many of these may not provide information about the exact locality but give a regional picture. _________________________________________________________________ MATERIAL SOURCE UTILITY RELIABILITY _________________________________________________________________ 1) Gazeteers Government Wide range of Moderate publication information on dept. Archives most of the aspects 2) Census " Population Moderate reports structure and status 3) Maps a) Toposheet Information about High Geography and nature of terrain Geology depts. of the study area, drainage pattern, area etc. b) Forest Forest Survey Forest types Moderate maps of India Forest Dept. c) Political and Book sellers General Less tourist map information 4) Reports and Govt. dept. Information of Variable theses research and the various (related to education studies study area) institutes, NGOs, NGIs and other sources like internet 5) Manuals and Publishers and Biological High Field guides book sellers, identifications, research and social issues educational institutes ---------------------------------------------------------------- Note. For restricted areas topsheets can be provisionally obtained through the nodal agency/ educational and research instituions. 2.5 LIMITATIONS 1) This manual cannot be considered as a comprehensive, inflexible standardized instrument. It has to be modified by the team according to the variations in the study area and the expertise available. 2) Because of such local variations the reliability of the outcome directly depends upon the commitment and competence of the team. 3) Many of the results obtained using this manual are based on anthropological truths. Hence, the reproducibility of results depends upon the capacity of a team to derive the anthropological truths. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 3. THE TEAM 3.1 INTRODUCTION Aquiring reliable and adequate information calls for frequent interaction between the team and the people, especially on important seasonal occasions and timings suitable to people such as holidays or evenings. This can be best achieved if the team is located close to the study site and speaks in people's language. This task can thus be effectively and very cost efficiently managed by school or college teachers and students in the vicinity in the study area than a few fulltime, well paid employees having to run across several distant study sites. If the absence of local teacher participation one can employ local students in the village after some training. Lastly even the centralised model of trained employee may turn out to be efficient if the employees are capable. It is suggested that a investigator with six volunteers/ students and two local persons constitute the team. The project is to be a team work. Hence, the team intergrity and sincere efforts are very important for achieving the objectives. The team should include persons with an aptitude for work in rural area and a concern for people. Both the men and women members have special roles to play throughtout the activity. Hence, it is suggested equal number of men and women should be selected as far as possible. There could be botanical or zoological experts or anthropologists or sociologists or social workers or any other resource persons that may visit the study area alongwith the team and/ or provide valuable inputs for the teamwork. They are temporarily a part of the team and linked usually to the leader but at times to some other member. 3.2 SHARING OF RESPONSIBILITES We discuss here some of the responsibilites of the investigating team. The leader can suitably identify the interests of the team members and accordingly allocate the responsibilities through group discussion or individual consultations. The investigation involves a variety of tasks, different local contexts and also changing situations over times. Hence, the team should conduct periodical group discussions to assess and if necessary, modify the direction of the investigation and allocation of responsibility. We do not suggest that this following structure be a formal or rigid one, but only wish to provide an outline of tasks and organisation. 3.2.1 Investigator's responsibilities 1) Guiding team members and designing work schedule as per the local conditions. 2) Taking the leading role in Gramashaba and meeting political leaders, representatives and government officials and knowledgeable individuals. 3) Monitoring data flow and analysing the data. 4) Managing the finances and reports. 3.2.2 Volunteers'/ students' responsibilities I) Recording secretary (maintaining records) 1) Recording the minutes and reports of Gram Sabhas and Group discussions in the notebook or using taperecorders. 2) Maintaining and organising the data. II) Public relation incharge (linking the team with others) 1) Generating and maintaining a good relationship with people. 2) Leading the individual interviews. 3) Contacting outsiders influencing the village. III) Parataxonomist (Field identifications) 1) Identifying local plants and animals. 2) Documenting utility and other social values 3) Referring to literature and biological experts. IV) Facilitator (Time management) 1) Planning according to objectives and resources. 2) Identifying the missing links and acting as a prompter for the team. 3) Using open ended questions, facilitating local people to reveal their opinions. V) Local representatives (Two, a man and a woman if possible) 1) Village level co-ordination, acting as mediators between the team and the local people. 2) Arranging meeting of the team with the local KI, GD, GS. 3) Aquainting the team with local customs/ culture and practices. 3.2.3 EXPERIENCES The Madurai team of the Western Ghats Biodiversity Network took many students to a remote forest village for community biodiversity registers over a period of two years; on holidays. Those with social concerns and abilities to move with people contributed more than others irrespective of their academic performance. The role of women students was vital in this. Many times the team stayed in the village for 3 - 5 days which helped develop good relationship with the villagers and get better perspective of the socio-ecological interactions. In one of the visits students learnt the local recipes and taught people some new items. This intimacy helped the team to study people's dependence on biological resources for food and nutrition. Students with good abilities in facilitating the discussions with the villagers made it a meaningful process. Both men and women students with their different talents like music, singing made the exercies fruitful and lively. 3.3 DISCUSSIONS AMONGST MEMBERS The local team members should frequently and together discuss at every stage the progress and limitations, what they are upto, proper further direction and choice of the right tools. Involve the local knowledgable individuals too, get their ideas too. The team may use the following questions a. What is the nature of our study at a given point ? (exploratory/ confirmatory) b. What would we like to find out ? (specific/ general/ opinion/ decision/ aspiration/ plan/ knowledge...) c. Who is the correct person to check with/ encounter? (individual/ group/ policy maker/ linker/ adopter) d. Where he/ she/ they resides? (resident/ migrant/ outsider) e. How many units of data collection/ analysis are needed / possible? (one to several) f. What proportion of the target will be acheived by the end of the step? (part to full) I BACKGROUND INFORMATION 4. QUALITATIVE DATA COLLECTION 4.1 INTRODUCTION Qualitative data appear in words rather than numbers. They may have been collected in a variety of ways observation, interviews, group discussion, Gram Sabha, field study and extract from secondary data sources. The objectives of this module are: (a) To introduce the process and mechanism of qualitaitive data collection. (b) To help the team select the specific tools for data collection according to the local context. We have purposefully not advocated the use of questionaires in the methodology. For, questionaires may serve as an important and effective tool for objective and quick surveys of more familiar population. However, we seek questions with subjective answers as these are deeper issues. Hence, we propose to use a checklist and informal discusssion or chat rather than a formal questionaire. This means, one has to do some homework, understand the questions well before each session, and informally lead the discussions on the right tract. 4.2 DATA COLLECTION AND CORRECTION Data collection involves atleast two persons - an investigator and a respondent. In cases, there may be more people in either role. In skillfull data collection, the investigator promotes the flow of the data, filters unnecessary information and records the required material in a concise fashion. The process involves three distinct phases in this project 4.2.1 Participant Observation The initial way to collect useful information is through observation of peoples activities, conducting informal interviews and even participating in their activities. This participant observation approach can be effectively undertaken if the investigating team visits/ stays at least for few days in the study area per month and carefully observes and documents the various activities of the people. The team can suitably decide upon the number of visits and intensity of the study. 4.2.2 Validation of Anthropological Truth With the information gathered through participant observation approach, validation of the information and analysis begins. In this stage field visits, interviewing knowledgeable individuals and identifying their preference ranking, semi- structured interviews and group discussions with user groups become more important. Validation can go hand in hand with the participant observation approach or it may begain after the first stage of work is completed. Time, money and necessity are the factors which govern the logistics of the team. 4.2.3 Correlation The data provided by different sources may often required to be correlated with each other and modified accordingly. Especially important are correlating field data with secondary data from literature. This assumes special dimension from biological viewpoints in finding out the biological nomenclature of species identified locally by the people. 4.3 BARRIERS IN DATA FLOW AND SOLUTIONS A few commonly encountered barriers in data flow and ways to overcome them are mentioned below. Obivously with greater experience and a good rapport with local people will face less barriers. a) Communication Barrier This results from an inability to effectively communicate the views, primarily due to inadequate communication skills, especially language. It is better to use respondent's mother tongue. Even then, the message may not flow to the respondent as expected by the investigator. This may be due to the difference in grasping power and understanding of the words used by the investigator. To break the communication barrier the team has to find out common words and terminologies which are often used by the respondents/ participants. Simple and easy words should be selected and used. Questions should be short and crisp. Diagrams, charts, models and maps can be used to improve the communication flow. b) Incindental Barrier Quite commonly, the respondent may understand the queries made by the investigator but may not be mentally prepared to give appropriate responses. This results in some irrelevant responses. The causal factors may include a distressful or existing incident or occasion. The investigator should then choose another occasion. In case of doubt or suspicion the investigators should try to create a suitable environment and prepare the respondents to actively participate in the interaction. c) Physiological/ Psychological Barrier Some respondents may not have problem in conceptual understanding but they may have some physical problem like hearing or stammering. In this case the investigator must be sympathetic and never make themselves and the respondent ackward by his/ her physiological or psychological problems, instead encourage respondent's participation. 4.4 EFFORTS IN DATA COLLECTION It is always beneficial to record the efforts invested in collecting the information for a variety of reasons. Using this, one can asses the rate of addition of information with aadtion of time and manpower invested. This may or may not be estimated quantitatively, but helps one decide the optimal level of sampling, and one may conclude data collection if no significant information is added despite considerable ongoing efforts. Secondly, one can compare the efforts put in by different teams in same or different study area, and assess if this could be an important factor responsible for the obtaining different results. Parameters that should be recorded for each session include- a) Starting and finishing time- b) Interviewers, number and types- c) Respondents, number and times- d) Familiarity with the respeondents- These details should be separately recorded for each LSEs studied during a field visit. The degree of aquaintance of the team or some of its members with the people prior to the study i.e. the earlier rapport is important. Further, as the relationship builts up during the study, rate of information transfer increases, due to greater confidence of respondents in the team. However, stock of the knowledge, especially that can shared, goes on reducing. Besides, the relationship differs from person to person. Thus, it is useful to keep a record of the nature and degree of aquaintance of the interviewers with the respondents. I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 5. COMPILING AND PROCESSING QUALITATIVE DATA 5.1 INTRODUCTION Qualitative data so collected is primary i.e., first hand information. This primary data would be processed mostly by the investigating team. However, the state and national coordinating agencies would also examine and interpret it to some extent. This module explains simple methods of data analysis which could be adapted by the team and the data formats needed for further analysis. Data analysis consists of four concurrent activities 1) Data reduction 2) Compartmentalization of data 3) Data display 4) Projection and Forecasting 5.2 HOW TO DO DATA REDUCTION 1) Parameters on which information is required for species and LSEs are listed in the manual. One can make note of all aspects about any species or LSE as and when possible. Information for a species or an LSE would be scattered in several notebooks. However, it can be reduced finally to one sheet for a species or one for an LSE or so on. If data are more a species or an LSE may require two sheets. 2) Generally, if there are about 15 major LSEs you have studied you may have to use 15 sheets; if you have recorded 25 species extensively then you may have to use 25 species data sheets. Of course, there may be several more LSE or species that are of lesser importance and lesser details. These may just be listed in the annexures. 3) From your field note book transfer the required data onto the sheets. Care should be taken while using the data sheet. If your team members have individual field note books, please collect them and compile them so that no information is missed at the time of data reduction. 4) Photocopying many datasheets at the outset, carrying them to field and getting them filled up is one option but it does not often work well. Secondly, lot of information comes later, accidently, off the field; going into some notebook or the other. So it is better to prepare datasheets separately during data reduction. 5) Be precise, restrict to a few carefully chosen words, while providing information on any parameter in the datasheets. 6) For quick computerised processing and analysis of data from all over the state and nation, all teams should use some common features. Keywords to identify common topics is one such feature. These have been mentioned in species and LSE data sheets. The other features relate to abundance (abundant, common, rare etc.) or change (great, moderate, less) scales etc. such features should be underlined. 7) The information for species or LSE could be descriptive and the parameter arranged on succeeding lines rather than column-row table which makes describing anything difficult. 8 To cater to local needs it is suggested that team can prepare tables, graphs, charts, diagrams using the data. Pictorial display is more useful for local people to understand the subject matter. 5.3 HOW TO DO DATA COMPARTMENTALIZATION The team goes on recording information in the notebook as time proceeds. Thus informtion about any species or LSE or other issue would be scattered in bits and pieces in all the notebooks. Often some loose information is also gathered. It is important and necessary to arrange the information under separate headings or topics; pulling from various notebooks and pages. This process called data compartmentalization would help to get a fuller picture of each issue. Example Following is a spectrum of possible headings: 1) Presence/ relative abundance of species in different LSEs/ types (tabular format, row species, column LSEs). 2) User groups and their dependence on various biodiversity elements and their status in different LSEs. 3) Resource which are extensively used, availability (abundance and LSEs), usergroups, amount extracted, mode of extraction, value addition, processing. 4) Norms/ measures/ innivations to protect/ manage species/ LSEs across usergroups. 5) Biodiversity elements with regards to which are not locally available but are used by local people. b) Mode of immigration/ introduction/ supply c) Abundance/ availability a) Name of the bio-resources and their significance. d) Effects on other elements 6) Protected species/ area/ usergroups/ related values and motivations. 7) Role of outsiders in sharing the biodiversity elements in terms of introduction/ removal a) Migrants i) Short time (few days) ii) Long time (few months) iii) Permanent b) Traders c) Government departments d) Politicians 8) Interest/ aversion of various kinds of people in the biodiversity elements. a) Researchers b) NGOs c) Politicians d) Traders e) User groups 9) Status of selected species/ LSEs in the past, present and future trends. 10) Factors which are highly variable and related to protection/ utilization of biodiversity elements e.g. market prices or grass production. 11) Factors which are relatively stable and related to protection/ utilization of biodiversity elements e.g. traditional norms like sacred grove or sacrifice or animal. 12) Rules/ regulations/ policies which are directly influencing local people's efforts at conservation, and their positive/ negative impacts e.g. protected area or joint forest management etc. 5.4 DATA DISPLAY AND INTERPRETATION Any project would be very successful if it involves local investigators and village people in infering results from the data collected. For this to happen, data should be displayed in such a way that people can easily understand it and respond. Through simple lists, especially those sorted on some values in order pie diagrams, flow charts etc., one can understand the general order; trend or pattern in the biodiversity elements and their relationships. However, such judgements should be provisional. Example 1) Past and current status of each LSE and impact of the activity of each user group on that LSE can be effectively presented to the people in the form of a map with symbols for change (upgradation/ degradation) in the LSE status at the center of each LSE depicted. 2) Factors responsible for the shift in the status of the LSE also can be listed surrounding the stronger forces could be depicted in larger lettering. 5.5 PROJECTION AND FORECASTING With the help of such information presentation, the team should encourage people either in the group discussions II/ gram sabha II to list the following: 1) Some important factors which have changed within 5-10 years and the chain of reactions set in motion by that change. 2) Some changes likely to take place during the course of next 5-10 years, and their implications for key species/ LSEs/ types. 3) A picture of the past, present and future, that may influence the people most. If depicted effectively as maps/ charts/ diagrams; all such information would stimulate people to think and perhaps encourage them to generate their own plan about how to manage their bio- resources if the conditions change in the way that has been projected. Also seek their opinion of what the situation would be like if there is little change. Then encourage them to compare both. 1) If conditions are changing what would be the status of LSE/ SP/ Study area? 2) If conditions are not changing what would be the status of LSE/ SP/ Study area? Are they willing to accept some changes ? At what cost they would like to bring these about ? List them, and identify their priorities for conservation of SP/ LSE/ Study area. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 6. TOOLS 6.1 INTRODUCTION This module explains several methods, with short descriptions, some tips for their uses and their limitations. The tools discussed here include - 1) Interviews a) Individual Interview b) Household interview 2) Field Visits 3) Mapping 4) Group Discussions 5) Gram Sabha/ Combined Group Disscussions 6.2 INTERVIEWS This is a two way communication process between a minimum of two persons, a respondent and an interviewer. The interviewer conducts the interview inorder to arrive at the qualitative information related to his/ her study from the respondent and records these responses. 6.2.1 How to select the interviewers and respondents Let us consider an occasion when the team would like to interview children of the study area to find out their involvement in conservation efforts. There are about 100 children. Out of these, randomly select a few children who may represent all the hundred. The few may be 10, 15 or 25 which depends upon the time and effort what the team can devote to this interview. But it may be noted that the number selected should adequately represent all the children. If the number is too small, for example the team has interviewed only two children from the 100, then the data collected from them may not represent the views of all the children in the study area. The team has to decide upon other questions also, such as, how many of them should be boys and girls? from which households? Let us assume that the team invites only boys belonging to upper class families from the village. What will be the nature of the data collected from this set of 25 individuals when compared to the other 75 from the village ? It will be one-sided and the others views will be neglected. A better way is to write all the names of the children and select any 25 using a lottery, which will give a set of children belonging to all age groups, sex, different economic classes. This is called random selection. The team can employ any suitable methods to make the selection as random as possible. A third option is to assign the households of the children to user groups and then to select at random children to represent each of the user group in the same proportion as the population of that usergroup in the total study population. This is known as stratified random selection. Generally, it is preferable that the same interviewer visits different respondents of a group of children. This is to maintain uniformity in data collection. If too many team members are involved then their data may not be consistent. Of course, this is not an insurmountable problem. If the total number of respondents are many and the time is limited then many interviewers can take up the assignment. But before doing so the interviewers should be properly oriented to conduct the interview in a uniform pattern, through group discussions. 6.2.1 How to record the responses Another aspect of the interview is recording of the reponses. There are two kinds of possible responses verbal and non-verbal. Generally verbal responses are recorded exactly in the words that the respondent uses, without adding or deleting anything by interviewer/ recorders. For effective recording an audio cassette recorder may be used. Many responses are non-verbal like smile, nodding the head, change in the tone, avoiding an eye contact with the interviewer etc. Such non-verbal signals have lot of hidden meaning which cannot be recorded without proper interpretation. To overcome this limitation two methods are available a) Probing b) multiple choice questions (closed response questions). a) How to probe ? If the respondent gives a nonverbal response to a question asked by the interviewer, probing is done. Probing is a process of designing follow-up questions instantaneously and asking in such a way that the respondent is stimulated to respond verbally. Interviewers are supposed to probe and convert incomplete answers into more complete one. However, care should be taken that investigator themselves do not prompt partly or fully a positive or negative reply. Examples Interviewer: (Key question):- Which LSE do you visit very often? Respondent : (Shows his finger towards eastern side and says) There. Interviewer: (Follow-up question) Could you tell me the name of the area. Respondent : Jalahalli (local name of the place) b) How to use multiple choice questions? The second approach is designing multiple choice questions where the respondents are given a selected choice of answers. The interviwers are required only to note the choice given by the respendent. Care should be taken by the interviewers not to prompt/ emphasize any of the optional answers. Example Interviewer (Key question):- Which LSE you visit most often ? a) Anikere (Ani lake) b) Malandurgudda (Malandur hills) c) Bejjale Kadu (Bejjale forest) d) Kuringal Kadu (Kuringal Peak) e) Yedapadi Hole (Yedapadi river) 6.2.2 Household interviews (HHI) This is yet another tool recommended for frequent usage in the study. The objective may differ from time to time. The success of this technique depends on the nature of acceptance of the team by the local people and the personal relationship the team has with the local people. Generally during individual interviews in the field/ public places the women and children may be neglected or may shy off. Use household interview as a tool to investigate the issues pertaining to women and children. The interview process is the same as that of Individual interview. Let the women team members lead the HHI. It is suggested that a married couple can perform well as interviewers in HHI, although this may not be possible in most teams. Here are a few. Practical Tips: * Find a suitable time to meet most of the target individuals of the household. * Confirm well in advance that you will be visiting the houses. * Your visit should not be a burden to the residents of the of your hosts. 6.3 FIELD VISITS Field study is a very important tool for this project. Field studies would especially contribute to more qualitative data especially on species and LSEs. Field study with different kinds of user groups and knowledgable individuals will help the team to understand many aspects which are otherwise untold. In the field the informants will be more authoritative because they learn from the nature. A number of inovations, management practices and conservation practises can be documented in the field. It is suggested that it is desirable to have in the team a person who is good in biology (taxonomy) and ecology, as this will help the team to understand the species and landscape better. During the field trip, team members are encouraged to use informal methods to collect data. Just participation in the activities of the user group and observation of various events taking place in the field may be interesting and informative for conservation prioritization. Always use a field note book and record the experiences. Take care to document the words used by the respondent. Write the investigators comments in a different page. Never mix them. Use of taperecorder would also be very useful. The team is also expected to undertake field identification of the species used by the user groups. If the identification is not possible in the field, it is better to prepare a Herbarium sheet or Museum specimen for further identification by the experts. However, due care should be taken to ensure that such collection of voucher sepcimen does not run counter to any laws of local pratices, and does not unduly deplete the species population. During field visits one will never come across even all the common species of a LSE or type or an area. Firstly, this would be just a matter of chance. Secondly, this may be due to other timings (say nocturnal birds not being encountered during daytime field treks) or season (say monsoon plants not occuring in summer). But once you come across some species or its indications such as mammal droppings or pug marks, stimulate the informant probing or multiple choice questions to reveal about the several such species not actually encountered but potentially occuring in the area. Similarly, one can ask people about locally extinct species in their known history. Talking to local people by showing them pictures from illustrated fieldguides can generate tremendous enthusiasm especially if plated are coloured. For birds and mammals observed and not identified sketches would serve the purpose of identification, if these sketches are referred later to any expert. However, for facilitating such identification the sketch should well illustrate the most striking character. If sketching is not possible description of peculiar characters would help the expert get important clues for identification. 6.4 GROUP DISCUSSIONS (GD) GDs is a team work. The investigating team members have to take up different responsibilities in order to conduct a successful GD. Group discussions can be used in this study as a tool for a) Confirming or modifying the information gathered through the interviews, as a group opinion of people. b) Understanding the different biological resources management mechanisms which are operating at the local level. c) Identify no problems of managing the bioresources and and maintanance of livelihood. d) Prioritizing the species and LSEs according to the different user groups based on their conservation interest. The team has to carefully decide upon the methods to promote active participation and maximum representation. The maximum duration of the GD could well be 30 to 45 minutes. Unless the group members are interested, this time need not be extended, as it becomes too taxing. The study team should decide upon the various points to be brought up in the GD. The data from interviews, field visits and other sources should be compiled and key issues identified to be used as a source for promoting group discussion. The points to be discussed in the GD may be converted into charts and cartoons in order to make the points transparent and unambiguous to people who come for the discussion. The roles of team members may vary according to the user groups. Example: Let us assume that a GD has been arranged to discuss the role of housewives in utilizing and protecting local biodiversity. For this GD the role of the different members could be visualised as follows. Team leader: The team should be led by a woman. She has to play a role of the `master of ceremony' i.e. to act as a catalyst for the group. She should have an agenda ready and try to follow it up. Organiser: The local volunteers would fix up the date, time and venue consulting the village women, according to their convinience and discuss the subject with women in the team well in advance. Facilitator: Facilitator is a person who acts as a mediator between the team leader and the group. The duty of fecilitator is to encourage the group to come out with their opinions and prompt the team leader to make use of the time available only for the prepared agenda of the GD. Recorder (rapporteur): May be even a male member, good at quick grasping and drafting actual word of the members of the group with their name. An audio casette recorder can be also used to record the whole event, and the contents transferred to the data sheet later. It is not necessary that a person who acted as a team leader in the above group discussion should always be the group leader. This may be changed depending upon the user group. All the team members may play various the roles on different occasions. 6.5 GRAMA SABHA (or Combined Group Discussion) Gram Sabha is a collective meeting of the entire village where the information collected from the different individuals and groups is discussed, confirmed and modified. It may be profitable to convene the GS least at on three occasions: the beginning, the middle and the end of the project. In many villages a particular caste may be dominant over others, men over women and a few individuals over others. Hence, the suppressed sections often do not dare to express views contradicting those of dominant sections. Moreover, if the divide amongst sections is very sharp, it is advisable to organise a few discussions involving more amiable groups. If the village comprises of many distant hamlets Gram Sabha is difficult to organise. Or if it is difficult to pull out some common time, Gram Sabha cannot be conducted. In such cases, discussions of nearby settlers can be organised. Conducting a Gram Sabha needs a lot of preparation and planning. It has to be designed according to the local situation such as social undercurrents and the grasping power, and level of team's interaction with the local people. Grama Sabha I is more or less an exploratory process when the study design may still be flexible. From inviting people to the conclusion of the whole show, the team has to plan for maximum particaipation from the local people. The local leaders, respectable elders and other personalities should be given a part to play in the programme. To make the programme more colourful either the team or the local people can put up a cultural show at the beginning of a form that is special to that study area. Grama sabha II and III are used to identify people's thoughts about organizing themselves to manage the local biodiversity etc. The information collected from various sources is selectively and placed in the sabha to project the current status of biodiversity. The various mangement optons derived from the different user groups with reference to the biodiversity may be put forward and the likely impact of the optons should be presented to them in a simple fashion. 6.6 MAPPING Mapping is the most useful and impartial tool to get the people involved in the study as well as understand and project the patterns and changes in peoplescape, landscape and biodiversity. For our purpose, great accuracy or precision are unwarrented. In this exercise an ordinal scale is used. The assumptions is that time taken to traverse between two spots is directly proportional to the distance between them. 6.6.1 Habitation Map Habitation map is not very important in the analysis intended here. However its importance is unparalleled as an excellent starters for getting people's confidence and participation. It is a harmless, unbiased representation of factual details of the village. This is an attempt to develop the skills of local people at pictorial presentation of their own surroundings. Throughout the mapping activity team members will act as facilitators to develop a map according to the scale of the local people. Choose a place either indoor/ outdoor with a relatively flat surface of 2m x 2 m. Collect coloured powders, different articles like (small) stones or brick pieces, bottles etc. Using colour powder mark the boundaries of the square. Help the local people to visualise and name the core zone of their village and mark that around the center of the square with coloured powder. Represent the structure of the village by arranging stones/ bricks. Let the stones represent the houses in the numbers and the direction in which they are actually arranged. Let us assume the villagers have said that the temple is situated at the center of the village. Then keep a stone at the center, if at the eastern side of the temple Raman's house and in between the temple and Raman's house is a small road then take a stone and give it to a local person. Suggest him to consider that stone as Raman's house and place it on the eastern side of the temple and leave some gap for the road. Then encourage the people to identify the different houses and arrange the stones accordingly. Then add beauty to the map by marking the road, waterscape, temple, grazing land, playground, fields etc. with different colours. This habitation map will help local people reconstruct the village plan and structure. This will give them immense pleasure of participation, build up a good rapport of the team with the villagers. Habitation map is useful for the investigator to identify social organisation of village in space. It may help better understand linkages of various user groups with surrounding landscape in relation to habitation. 6.6.2 Landscape map Landscape element map is very important. It covers much larger area than the habitation map and it is the basis of resource or biodiversity richness or pressure or priority area maps. For its preparation, help of different user groups and knowledgeable individuals from may be required, during visit to several observation spots. The team may prepare two kinds of LSE maps. One would be described by the local people and the other one using the scientific classification of LSEs given in the appendix. Scientifically, every distinct vegetation/ aquatic element (patch) would belong to a separate LSE type. Each major patch of each type larger than certain area/ length limits should ideally be represented in the map. However, villagers may broadly call an area by some local name depending upon historical monuments or natural feature etc. They may include all vegetation types occuring in that area under the same name. For instance, what they refer to as a `xyz hill' LSE may in fact scientifically contain a few forest patches (LSEs), a few scrub patches (LSEs) and a few cultivation patches (LSEs). So one needs to begin with broader landscape map with local names and end up with a finer scientific map. Following materials would be helpful for landscape mapping: 1) Habitation map prepared by the local people and team but transferred from the ground to paper or on to an enlarged toposheet copy. 2) A copy of the forest map/ toposheet issued by the government, traced and enlarged suitably by the team. 3) Information gathered through interviews/ GD/ GS/ etc., about biodiversity elements, user, pressures, threats, priorities etc., for different LSEs. Once the study area is selected with the help of the state nodal agency or local eductional institutions or NGOs try to get a topographical map or its photocopy (xerox). Identify the village cluster you are working with and using a xeroxing facility enlarge (5-10 times) the portion to include the study area. Trace only the bold countour lines (which represent a level difference of 100m in recent maps and 250 ft in old maps), to avoid overcrowding of detail. Also trace important landmarks such as road, rivers, temple etc. Make two/ three xerox copies and keep one intact. Discuss the features on the other copy with the people, change old names given in the map. Add more features, names, different LSEs etc in GD on one of the copies. a) LSE map according to the people After a GD on the map the team accompanied by local knowledgeable individuals should visit the different localities in and around the study area noted by the user groups. These should be marked roughly on the enlarged traced map. Apart from this, field visits can be used to also generate 1. Local names and their meanings for different LSEs. 2. the most common plants and their uses ,birds, animals, fishes and any other living organisms known to the local people. 3.information relating to the distance from the village/ time taken to reach the LSE from the village and direction of the LSE from the village. 4. the ownership of access to each LSE. Using a copy of the enlarged toposheet/ forest map these details should be carefully depicted and the boundaries between LSEs should be approximately marked. Different LSE types and other features may be suitably illustrated by different colours and symbols. Under unavoidable circumstances (such as in beginning or in the absence of toposheet), the local people's LSE map may be prepared only on plain papers. Rough shapes, sizes and proper orientation with respect to each other would suffice, starting from the LSEs nearest to habitation, and proceding to the farthest ones. Later on, it can be transfered on the toposheets. b) Scientific Landscape Map A scientific landscape map is best developed on the traced copy of toposheet. Hence it is scaled, has proper orientation, location and rough sizes of different LSEs. Shapes of LSEs are difficult to conceive and represent but come out much better on toposheets than on plain paper. As explained above the scientific LSE map is much more detailed than local people's map. In other words, an area that local people call by a particular name and have no further categorization of patches in it; may include several LSEs and types described scientifically. The procedure of scientific landscape mapping is broadly as follows: 1) Procure toposheet, trace only the bold contour lines, stream and other necessary features. 2) Enlarge using photocopying facility (5-10 times) the portion of the study area and the LSEs as described by the user group.Make a few copies. 3) Using the habitation map mark the houses, roads and other details at the exact locations. 4) With the help of experts and the local people go into the field, classify and identyfiy the LSEs as given in the manual. Demarcate the boundries of LSEs in the enlarged map with respect to streams, roads, temples, peaks etc. 5) Use specific symbols for each user group and mark LSEs used or protected by them. 6) Superimpose the LSE map prepared according to the local people over the LSE map prepared by the experts, as fresh tracings after making scale and boundary adjustments. It is advantageous to initially use pencil and later finalize with colours/ sketch pen. However coloured maps cannot be photocopied if they are attached to any other report and hence, patterns such as hatching, dotting etc., helps. Once we prepare the current landscape map, we can visit major LSEs and try to extract information about past status as accurate as possible; using historical benchmarks. Using this information, and making some extrapolations we can construct historical landscape map/s. These will have increasingly lower resolution (details of area and shape, scale) as we go deeper into history. For preparing a landscape map, one may have to visit several observation spots in a locality and draw the birds eye view as apparent from each spot. The topology of any given patch may not change if it is viewed from different spots. However, the shape or size of any given patch would change considerably in viewing from different areas, depending upon the distance and angle of the observation spot from the patch. For instance, a circular patch would appear oval from a distance and higher elevation but an ellipse from a farther or lower spot. One can logically reconstruct approximate or actual sizes and shapes by following tow rules or thumb (a) assume a farther thing to much wider than it appears, compared to closer object (b) especially how up its longer axis if that is along the sight direction than it was perpendicular to line of sighting. One has to strike a compromise between different visual frames. Give preference to shapes and sizes observed from nearer distances over farther spots and higher elevation spots over lower ones. In a montane area, the number of observation spots required would be few, but in plains one needs to view and draw frames many locations. Areas with good tree cover or in depressions provide lesser view (scope) than open or elevated places. Thus one may have to find more and advantageous spots (vantage points) in tree covered areas or valleys for complete view of the landscape. Even after covering number of locations some portion of the locality may remain uninterpreted. If possible, it can be actually visited or referred to local people and/ or details extrapolated. In the tropics, spring is the best season for mapping as deciduous trees shed their leaves and can be easily distinguished from the evergreen ones even from large distances. Also, the sky is much less cloudly. However, the best season may vary across zones. In hilly areas, late morning is better for mapping as fog or mist is absent and sun is not very scorching. However, care should be taken that the observer should not be facing sun; that would glare and obscurity is avoided. Thus, decide observation timing considering the orientation of the observation spot w.r.t. view as well as sun. The natural vegetation often has uneven canopy which gives the vegetation patch tree an appearance of a mosaic of well lit and shaded areas. In contrast the manmade vegetation types such as crops or plantations have or uniformly developed canopy that appears through equally lit or shaded. This difference in patterns of shade is a good field clue. It is produced by essentially height differences in vegetation. Adjoining forest patches, or plantations or crops with great age difference also differ considerably in their mean height and hence, can be identified in distant view by the distinct shade along their boundary. Apart from pattern of shade colour of vegetation too provides useful hints. The evergreen vegetation has a dull, darker, blackish, green leaves, whereas the deciduous or herbaceous vegetation has fresh light green leaves. At times, dominance of a tree in flower or in peculiar leaf shed (red, yellow etc.,) or leafless stage etc., helps identify a vegetation patch. For this, one simply need to identify the peculiar tree or type from close distance, mark on the map all similar looking patches as belonging to that type and later cross check a few by actual visits. If all are confirmed, well and good; if not identify the confusion and correct whereever necessary. All these field biological mapping hints would increase ease, speed and accuracy. 6.7 TIPS FOR USING TOOLS DOs DONT's Conduct few trial interviews Go without any groundwork, with the help of team members. rehearsals Locate a suitable respondent Select only those of individuals group associated with the you come across. study. Randomly select from the group Identify the individuals whom individuals to be interviewed. you think will co-operate in your study. Present yourself before the Care little about how you respondent as a responsible present yourself and the way reliable person you interact with the respondent. Train your informant with some Present your goal and explain sample questions and introduce the importance of your goal the method of questioning and in the current context. explain what is the informants role. Create a suitable environment Immediately jump to actually for the flow of information interviewing. and help the respondent to come out of fear and shyness. Have an open eye to watch their Be inconsistent in your non-verbal communications and approach, tell irrelevant clean ears to verbal stories to respondents, express communication. your views or opinions, pass unnecessary remarks on respondents or their responses. Watch the involvement of the Be mechanical, ask questions respondent and facilitate the and get the answers. process by probing. II PROJECT ACTIVITIES PHASE I GETTING ESTABLISHED SUGGESTED SCHEDULE FOR THE PHASE 1 ----------------------------------------------------------------- ACTIVITY TEAM -DAYS ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1) State level training programme 4 2) Collection of secondary information 2 3) Selection of study area 1 4) Field visit for finilisation 2 5) Approach, rapport, familiarisation/ mapping 2 6) Field visit with knowlegeable individuals 16 of each user group 7) Gram Sabha I: introduction 3 ------------------------------------------------------------- Total 30 SUGGESTED AGENDA FOR TRAINING PROGRAMME 1. Presentations by investigators and further understanding of the project activities; discussion and modifications 2. Exercise - Ice breaking, mapping, terminology, documenting species and LSEs Homework. 3. Practical sessions on interviews, group discussions and gram shaba and documentation procedures. 4. Scientific sessions on focal species, field guides, taxonomy and classification. PROJECT EXCERCISE 7.0 SELECTION OF STUDY AREAS 7.1 INTRODUCTION: To study the biodiversity conservation prioritization at local level each state nodal agency is free to choose broad areas and teams to work there and the team is free to select a village cluster for their study. Care should be taken that all the criteria mentioned below are fulfilled while selecting the area. Following would be helpful in achieving these objectives. 7.1.1 Tools a) Reconnaisance trip b) Individual interviews 7.1.2 Secondary data This is not mandatory but may be helpful for site selection. One should not spend too much time on these prior to site selection and should focuss on physical and social accessibility of a study site rather than other parameters. These secondary data sources prove useful even after choice of area. a) Maps/ atlas b) Census reports c) Gazeteers 7.1.3 Homework a) Select a list of probable villages b) Collect secondary information, regarding market places, market days, population and ecological aspects regarding the area to be covered during the reconnaissance. 7.2 SELECTION OF STUDY ZONES To begin with, one should first identify the ecogeographic zones in each state; such as dry and wet, plains and hills etc. Then try to distribute the eight to ten sites into these ecogeographic zones to obtain adequate representation of following ecosystem categories in the order specified below. i) a) Forests b) Lake c) Rivers d) Sea The ecosystems may be sampled in both - ii) a) Protected areas ( national park, sancturies etc) b) Unprotected (minor forests/ gomal etc) Within the unprotected areas, you may represent some - iii) a) Intensively exploited area, new urbanisation b) Economicaly backward, remote, tribal areas There may be also be areas representing iv) a) Areas with ecodevelopment thrust by NGOs/ NGIs b) Areas showing environmental regeneration by people alone After applying some or all the above mentioned criteria one may decide upon the broad areas from where the village clusters would be selected. 7.3 SELECTION OF STUDY AREA When the broad areas are identified, the team should discuss with the people who have served in that area as teachers, public health workers/ officers, postman etc or any other responsible people. They would select a suitable site for the project. 7.3.1 Selection Criteria a) The optimum study area based on a social unit (village or village cluster) may have 200-300 families. b) The area should preferably have a close access to a few natural ecosystems and at least 5 to 10 different kind of user groups. c) The selection of sites could follow two kinds of approaches a) Landscape element approach * Choose the landscape element of interest e.g. a lake or a patch of forest from the broad area and list the different social units which uses that landscape element. * Using the census report or by actually enumerating find out the number of families in each social unit. Choose as many villages, or a part of a village or town as needed, to make up a total of 250 - 300 families. b) Social unit approach * Identify a social unit (village or village cluster) which has about of 200-300 families from the focal site. Find out the LSEs with which the people are intimately related, and include these in the study area. Example RANWA is an NGO, working in Maharashtra, mainly on biodiversity inventory and monitoring. One of their study areas was Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary. Where they had earlier done some scientific vegetation study. During their visit to Phansad for their study they came accross a village settlement called Supegaon which is located inside the protected area. This settlement included eight user groups: 1. Hunters 2. Carpenters 3.Local herbal healers 4. NTFP collecters 5. Honey gatherers 6. Fuelwood collecters 7. Sheperds 8. Green manure collecters. The number of families was about 265. The people of the village were cooperative. When working for CES in 1995, RANWA was looking for a village for conducting community biodiversity register. Because all the requirements of that project were fulfilled in Supegao, RANWA selected that as the study area. The approach which was taken by the RANWA is the social unit approach. The study area thus identified about sixteen LSEs or resource localities by the local usergroups. According to scientific investigations, there were about nine LSE types and several tens of LSEs. PROJECT EXERCISE 8.0 APPROACHING THE VILLAGE AND TRUST BUILDING 8.1 INTRODUCTION : For a smooth introduction with the villagers and quick confidence buiding it is better that the team gets introduced by a person or an institution having good relationship with most of the people in the village, e.g. college teachers, postman, NGO, NGI or any one not known to be politically or socio-economically motivated. Period of the year, nature of the work people are engaged in and the earlier experiences of local people with the outsiders would influence the process of familiarization. The process may involve one or all of the following: 1) Reconaissance trip to the village and landscape 2) Informal interviews with local leaders 3) Group discussions i) Within the team ii) With villager (informal) 4) Habitation mapping 5) Field trip with villagers The main objectives in the initial phase are two fold - a) To understand local conditions and develop specific stratergies to achieve friendly relationships with local persons of the study area. b) To identify different user groups and knowledgable indiviudals (KI) from the local people and to build relationships with them. 8.2 DO's DON'Ts 1) Consider local persons for 1) Approach independently introduction and get inside 2) Consider suitable time 2) Approach any time according to local according to your condition convinience 3) Watch your words, respect 3) Underestimate village the elders, follow the dress rules and traditions and code, take care of even minor wear and behave the way things which may disturb the you want local people 4) Try to develop a pleasant 4) Irritate local people atmosphere while interating by lengthy conversations with them, let it be short and sweet 5) Learn the local 5) Show interest in local traditions and customs politics Meet responsible individuals from all strata of the village. Use simple techniques like mapping and try to inovolve the people in all the activities. Identify the village structure and the people with different needs and resources. Select a suitable method to get closer to the people. Try to develop a friendly atmosphere and be alert to pick up their practices and the common words are used by the local people. Be at ease with them and open general informal discussions related to common interest. Also build human relationship using your own stratergies and explain the purpose of the study. 8.3 EXPLAINING THE PURPOSE Our purpose is Our purpose is not 1) Possible policy changes and 1) To fund development longterm, large scale benefits. immediately/ locally. 2) To identify areas of 2) To work on areas of our their priorities. priorities. 3) Discuss with the outsiders 3) Report to Government feasibilities of implementing officials about village conservation and development. secrets. 4) Document what they know. 4) To preach what we know. 5) Document local knowledge 5) Document knowledge for and give them due recognition commercial use and selfish and credit. profit. 6) To share the resulting 6) To bring out a secret/ information with locals. inaccessible report. 7) To work with them with their 7) To work with our own help. set-up. 8) Importance of their 8) Promote our initiatives as participation as locals. outsiders. 8.4 EXPERIENCE Shri Dayanand Bhat (Sirsi, Karnataka) from the Western Ghats Biodiversity Network approched his study area with the help of one of his students. He was introduced to the parents of the student who lived in the study area. They introduced Dayanand to a local leader. Later, on a village walk Dayanand inquired the leader about the recent village developments. Upon his prompt and impressive response, Dayanand appreciated his efficency and then explained the motivation behind his visit to the study area. This helped Dayanand to quickly establish the rapport, without either harming or unjustly furthering the leader's interests. PROJECT EXERCISE 9.0 PRELIMINARY DATA COLLECTION 9.1 INTRODUCTION: Once the team builds up good rapport the villagers, next step is to motivate local people to participate in our documentation of their knowledge about natural ecosystems and local bioresources. The useful tools include Interviews, Field study, Gramsabha I, Mapping. Apart from using these tools, the team can collect secondary data also from sources like gazetteers, reports etc. The team should identify knowledgeable individiduals (KIs) from different user groups, confirm their participation in our study and plan accordingly. The KIs should be rewarded in cash or kind, as they desire for the time, effort and expertise they share with the team. 9.2 VILLAGE PROFILE Following basic information can be gathered from the people in the house discussion or field works. as well as from pertinent documents - - Population of the village. - Geographical location. - Administration, developmental infrastructure. - User groups, number of families belonging to each group, male and female ratio, youth, children, and knowledgeable individuals. - Cultural diversity, festivals, village organisation and leadership. - Habitation map and cadastral map. - Seasonal and geographical work pattern of different user groups. - Local names of different localities (LSE) in and around the study area as used by the local people. - Local names of the most important species utilized or conserved by different user groups. - Status, availability of the species in different localities (LSE) as specified by the local people. - Ownership of each locality (LSE) and degree of accessibility to the various user groups. - Role of the outsiders (migrants, traders) in utilizing the different biodiversity elements available in the study area (specific to each LSE). - Role of children/ women/ men/ elders/ youth of each user group in collection/ utilization of biodiversity elements (specific to each LSEs). 9.3 IDENTIFICATION OF USER GROUPS The important factors in determining a usergroup are: a) Availability & accessability of biodiversity elements. b) The knowledge and skill required to use the biodiversity elements. c) Cultural diversity of the ethinic groups of people who live in the study area. d) Gender bias/ age/ health status. e) The number of options available for an individual or group to channalize their knowledge and skills in order to generate money/ aquire the resource to run their family or satisfy their needs. f) Local work calender/ work pattern. g) Working attitude of the local people Hence, it is commonly seen that the person who is a member of the one specific user group for e.g. honey gatherer, may also be a member of various other usergroup in different period of the year or even different hours of the day. Following steps may help to clear through the complexity of the usergroups. 1) Identify & list the various activities of the local people (e.g. Honey gatherering, fuelwood collection, NTFP collection etc). 2) Classify and enemurate people involved in these activities into major and minor usergroups. For our convinence, a group which spends more than 3 months of a year in one activity can be called as a major usergroup and the others can be called as the minor usergroups. For instance landlords or agricultural labours could be a major usergroups and NTFP collectors as minor one. 3) Estimate the degree of association between the members of each major group and the minor group or any other major user group. This can be estimated as the proportion of the members shared between the usergroups. For instance, half of the agricultural labourers may be engaged in NTFP collection, whereas none of the landlords would be involved. Thus the labours and NTFP collectors have good degree of associating but not the landlords. 4) Compare all the usergroups and identify why people stay alongwith a usergroup and/ or often shift to another. Then rank those factors for each major and minor usergroup. For instance, the agricultural labours may not be switiching over to basket weaving for the want of necessary skills. They may not be migrating to cities for the lack of opportunity - such as a contractor. These make them remain as agricultural labourers. They may however be shifting seasonally to NTFP collection due to slack period and supporting livelihood. This is tentative ranking of causal factors. 5) Conduct few informal discussions among the investigating team members and KIs to confirm and modify your assessment and rank all the usegroups according to their interrelationship. 6) Prepare an annual calender of activities for each usergroup. Some pratical tips for identifying usergroups and conducting interviews are as follows: 1) While conducting interviews, group discussions care should be taken to consider the representatives of the following kinds of individuals: a) associated with only one major usergroups b) associated with only one minor usergroup c) associated with one major usergroups and two or more minor usergroup d) associated with two are more then two minor usergroups e) associated with various groups both major & minor usergroups 2) During individual interviews and household interviews care should be taken to asign the usergroup status of each member of the family because, the head of the family may be a herbal medical practicer and one of their son may be a fisherman (heterogenous resources). Where in another case the whole family may be involved in fishing activity (homogenous resources). To the same question related to protection of medicinal plant is asked, they may give two different answer. 3) One may often have to club or seperately treat different people depending upon the purpose. For instance, while recording perceptions of agriculturists, one may have most of the village as the usergroup but for recording perceptions of NTFP labours, only a few of the agriculturists may form the target population. Example Carpenters versus Toddy tappers A team selected 50 individuals and asked "Are you interested in protecting a particular Palm? ". 45 of the respondents said "No; we prefer to cut it," but 5 of them said that they would like to protect it. The team reported that most people in that area would prefer cutting the Palm tree, and hence Palm trees have very low conservation priority for the people. Later, it was found out that the team missed an important step, that is the step to identify the user groups. The 45 persons who said that they would like to cut the tree are carpenters (and not toddy addicts) whereas the other 5 are toddy tappers. The carpenters depend upon about 25 different species from 8 different LSEs, out of which Palm is a minor one. They may prefer to protect teak trees for a longer period of time so that they can increase their profit. Palm is obviously not their priority. On the other hand, the Palm is found in only one LSE and the toddy tappers do not have any other alternative to the Palm for their livelihood. On the basis of the report if all the Palm trees were replaced with some other timber yielding trees by the authorities, one of the user groups would have lost their source of livelihood. 9.4 MAPPING The detailed procedure and subtalities of mapping are discussed in the chapter `Tools' and the annexures. The habitation and landscape maps would be most important, other maps like resource flow or landscape change or priority LSEs etc., would be secondary in importance. Mapping could be undertaken as a seperate exercise per say; however it would be more efficient to couple its field work with the field visit for species and LSE documentation. The season, time and location of observation spots for mapping and later validation should be carefully decided. Incase of villagers with several settlements, the habitation map may comprise of two parts - (a) the first showing the placement of settlements in the study area (b) if necessary insets of larger settlements. 9.5 FIELD VISITS WITH KNOWLEDGABLE INDIVIDUALS (KI) For methodological discussion on field visits please refer to the chapter `Tools'. Here we spell out only the procedure and objectives of this excercise. Initial field visits can generate information on ecological history and management options too, but it fits better in section 11.2 and 11.3. 9.5.1 Planning the field visit programme a) Identify the priority LSEs/ waterscape elements which people variously consider important so as to make best use of limited resources and time. b) Identify the locations of visits, check the distances and purpose (mapping/ species knowledge/ validation) check the KIs availability, fix up a time suitable to them. c) Try to get many say 3 KIs per each visit, each representing different user group and having different skills. Thus, each field visit would become multifaceted. 9.5.2 Documenting LSEs: Some 10 to 20 LSEs representing 5 - 8 ecological types can be identified as high priority by discussing with people and visits to them planned as above. For each of these, one can gather information on many topics suggested below. It is difficult to fit the information in a tabular format in the field. As we do not know what topic will generate how much material, there is little point in deciding column widths and table heights. Thus, refer to the checklist and discuss all the issues and take notes. Whenever you get to know something throughout the study period. Later this can be sorted out and tabulated or computerised appropriately. The key-words are underlined in the following account, to help sorting the data. The field visits will no doubt bring out bulk of the information, but other incidences would also enlighten the team. a) Local name and its meaning in local language, scientific typology, identification of boundries and approximate shape, size, location and area on the toposheet, LSE map based on discussions. b) Ownership of the LSE as a whole or in parts, access regimes to LSE for user groups, outsiders, conventional rights, norms and rules of usage. c) Status of the LSE with respect to soil, surface and ground water (good/ bad/ very poor). d) Importance of LSE as a habitat for wild economic plants, fishes, birds, larger mammals. e) Changes in status of LSE in relation to historic benchmarks (HBMs) in terms of ownership, access regimes, ecological status, driving forces responsible for the change, its impact on user groups, species and others (outsiders etc). 9.5.3 Documenting Species: During field visits, we often do come across manu species reportedly or expectedly common or characteristics of a given LSE or area. This is partly due to chance, overlooking, improper timing, wrong season etc. Stimulate your informants to provide information on all such unseen species which are important to them; including the one's that have gone locally extinct. This is best done by showing and talking about illustrated fieldguides to local people. Please note the following points to be discussed about each species in your every notebook. Select a few tens of most important plant and animal species for various user groups. It is necessary and impossible to document all the aspects below for all the important species. So classify the rest of the species, the unimportant areas into groups. Just provide group characters regarding above parameters and list of species in the group. Please highlight the keywords, underlined below while writing descriptions. This will help easy retrieval of information and tabulation. a) Local name, its meaning in local language, scientific name, characters used for identification. b) Habit / Lifeform: Animals: Mammal/ fish/ bird Plants: Tree/ shrub/ herb/ climber/ orchid/ parasite/ epiphyte c) LSE types or individual LSEs prefered by the species, its status in these (rare/ common/ abundant). d) Which user group makes which use of which part of the species, how does the usergroup access the species, are there any norms or rules related to the access regime? e) Seasonal changes in the availability of the species f) Processing of (into market product) and value addition (generating economic value) to these biodiversity elements. g) Values attached by local people and ranking (high, medium, low):- i) Market values in various local markets. ii) Ranking of utility for local people (subsistence values). iii) Ranking of religious and/ or cultural (aesthetic, moral) values. iv) Ranking of conservation values (importance for ecosystem services like soil and water conservation, windbreaks fire breaker, shelter to other species etc.) v) Ranking according to nuisance value. h) Changes in its population availability over times, years or decades, causes., predictions. 9.6 DATA RECORDING: The data should be recorded in a field note book using pencil/ ballpoint pen. It is better to record precise words used by the people. Using an audio cassette recorder is ideal for field visit, group discussion, Grama Sabha, interviews etc. Soon after the investigation is completed the team has to meet and collate/ compile the information obtained. Only anthropological truths (i.e. what people say or inform) should be recorded. The investigators comments may be written seperately and this keyword highlighted. Person who leads the investigation or the interviewer need not usually be involved in recording the data. Some other person should take up the recording. Recording should not become a barrier in the communication between the investigator and the respondent. 9.7 PRESENTATION IN GRAMA SABHA I The team can best explain the purpose of the intended exercise to the whole village in the Gram Sabha. Preliminay findings based on field visits or interviews conducted so far should be discussed to generate interest. A possible agenda at GS I could look like - 1) Prayer song by local teacher/ school children, if necessary. 2) Introduction of the team to the village. 3) Welcome address by a local person. 4) Investigator's explaination of the purpose. 5) Question - answers. 6) Presentation of habitation map by local people. 7) Identification of different user groups and the knoweldegable individuals at LSEs. 8) Local representatives remark. The main objective of Gram Sabha I/ Combined Group Discussions I would be: 1) To emphasize their ecological, economic, social, cultural, religious, ethical values of documenting local biodiversity. 2) To explain possible future economic and ecological linkages, and now that would affect their livelihood and progeny. 3) To request local people to co-operate throughout the study. 4) To confirm the identity of different user groups and their relationship with biological resources available in and around the study area. A habitation map and a pictorial presentation sunch as pie- chart of seasonal/ monthly work schedule of user groups for a year can be prepared, presented and modified with the help of local people. This would get people involved in the study. The Grama Sabha should be arranged and conducted in such a way that the people become clear about our study, their role in the study, possible outcomes and the limitation of the team. Care should be taken not to get involved in the existing social structures - gender and ethnic, socio-political hierarchy. It is not possible to conduct a gram sabha because of enomorous social disparity or remoteness of settlements or unsuitable timings, conduct a few combined discussions to cover all the usergroups. PROJECT ACTIVITIES SUGGESTED SCHEDULE FOR THE PHASE II DOCUMENTING MANAGEMENT OPTIONS -------------------------------------------------------------- SR.NO ACTIVITY TEAM-DAYS -------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Home work: Biodiversity Dynamics 2 2 Group discussion I: Conservation practises 6 3 Home work: Ranking conservation efforts 6 4 Field visit II: Landscape history and mapping 8 5 Group discussions: Management options 6 6 Home work: Management options 6 7 Gram Sabha III: Preparation and execution 3 8 Group discussion III 5 9 Gram Sabha III 3 ---------------------------------------------------------------- Total 45 PROJECT EXERCISE 10. ASSESSING PROTECTION, UTILIZATION AND NUISANCE 10.1 INTRODUCTION: Most user groups have a species and site specific annual activity schedule. They begin the pertinent activities at a particular period of the year when the biresources they are interested in are available; finish when the bioresource become less/ available. They can monitor the seasonal changes and act accordingly; locate the LSEs where the species of their interest is available. Each user group often has characteristic management practices of collecting, storing and using specific biresources. Time to time they change their management practices. Both internal factors and external factors drive such change. The procedures also may differ from one group to another. Similiar process as those about useful species, also operate on harmful or neglected species but at different scales or intensities. Many of these have inbuilt conservation mechanisms. Generally four practices are common amongst user groups - i) Using a specific set of bioresources fully or partly in terms of specific LSEs and species, and more so with commercialization. ii) Protecting another set of specific bioresources fully or partly form specific LSEs and species even though commercial demand or known economic importance is attached to the species. There may be sacred or ethical elements, which may succumb only to great pressures of social change and market. iii) Protecting or overlooking of certain biodiversity elements due to ignorance. This is about the value attached to the bioresource. iv) Shifting from protecting to utilizing and vice versa. i.e. they start using a species which was once protected by them or protecting a species which was once used by them. v) Tolerating certain level of nuisance or employ mild measures of prevention such as defence against birds, foraging in the fields or monkeys, destructively feeding on orchards. Note that these species are neither used nor protected by people. vi) Indulging into violent measures of defence such as electrocuting elephants, although they are neither consumed nor may have tusks. 10.2 HOMEWORK: BIODIVERSITY DYNAMICS Considerable information on the above aspects would be generated from the field studies with the KIs. * Using this field information, prepare following accounts for different user groups. * SP/ LSE used by the user group under investigation * SP/ LSE used outside the study area during the course of migration * SP/ LSE used by the UG for the benefit of outsiders or other user groups (eg. Trade) * Bioresources brought into the study area by the user groups * Extraction procedures and management practices related to protection * Values/ myths which lead them to save/ conserve the biological resources. * SP/ LSE used/ protected by outsiders. (eg. forest department, outstation land lord) * Species/ LSEs that are neither used nor destroyed but are harmful * Species/ LSEs that are not used but are harmful and are partly/ fully eliminated by people Retrieve information from all your field note books and group it according to different neads or highlighted keywords. This could be according to major usergroups or if necessary or possible, for some/ many/ all groups together. Example User Group I : Fuelwood Gatherers _________________________________________________________________ LSE/ SP LSE/ SP Bioresources Bioresources saved used brought from sent outside outside _________________________________________________________________ Species LSEs/ types Area Mode Proportion _________________________________________________________________ If the team finds that the information is not adequate to give an overall picture of the behaviour of the user group try to conduct individual interviews. To confirm this information a group discussion may be arranged where the following questions can be discussed. 1) The significance of saving few LSE/ SP. 2) Special consideration while collecting/ hunting/ extracting the bioresources in order to minimize the damage to LSE/ SP. 3) Status of availability of resources and impact of utilization. 4) Flow of bioresources across the user groups and outsiders. 5) The damage caused by the harmful species and the precautionary/ controlling/ reimbursement measures. 10.3 GROUP DISCUSSION I The considerable inforamation collected during the field visits is compiled in aforesaid fachion. The time is now ripe to validate and modify these data. This can best be done in group discussion where we discuss the opinions of KIs as above. The relationship between the group members and their role in the group activity can be also derived. Select representatives from each user group according to the local condition. Find out the suitable day, time and venue from each user group to meet them in a group and conduct the group discussion. Depending upon the number of representatives of each user group the number of group discussions may be decided. As a rule of thumb, the number of participants should not exceed 20. To begin with it would be beneficial to identify the different user groups of the study area and classify them according to their access to different LSEs. For example in the case of shepherds, find out how many LSEs they use in the study area. Then check whether all of them visit all those LSEs. The team may notice LSE based differentiation in the shepherds e.g., shepherds - I with access to all five LSEs and those who have access to only one LSE as Shepherds - II. For group discussion - I, it is better to have two separate rounds/ subgroups for the two catergories of shepherds if time and manpower permits. If necessary, a combined GD can be arranged after GD I. For further information migrants, traders and others who bring bioresources to or take them away from the study area have to be identified with the help of local people. Depending upon the time and the expertise available a good number of migrants, traders and those involved in this process should be interveiwed and their activities and interests documented. 10.4 HOMEWORK: WEIGHING CONSERVATION EFFORTS: Unsustainable utilization and complete protection are two extreme activities. The activities of each user group may lie somewhere inbetween or may be highly variable and are influenced by various factors. To understand the degree of utilisation or protection or harm caused we suggest following ordinal scales: 1. Availability scale (of species in the LSE) | 0 1 2 3 |4 |___________|________________|______________|_____________| Absent Scarce Inadequate Adequate Excess 2. Demand scale (species used by user group) 3. Utilisation scale (user group behaviour) 4. Effort scale (collection - processing) 5. Protection (effort) scale 6. Nuisance For all these parameters except availability, following scale would apply | 0 1 2 3 |4 |___________|________________|______________|_____________| Nil Low Moderate High High The team may employ these scales to prepare a rank matrix of all the parameters. Based on these matrix, utilization or protection or nuisance can be ranked for each species held important by the user groups. Of course, such an eloborate exercise may not be possible for many species or LSE types. Hence, one may have to judge the gross conservation scale by combining relative values on each scale, while talking to local people on these issues. PROJECT EXERCISE 11 DERIVING LOCAL MANAGEMENT HISTORY AND OPTIONS 11.1 INTRODUCTION: We are interested in documenting (a) earlier management pratices by people/ outsiders and their impacts on species and landscapes (b) driving forces behind the changes in species, landscape and management over times (c) current/ future management options and motivations. 11.2 FIELD VISIT: ECOLOGICAL HISTORY To assess the changes in the landscape, species and interaction patterns, one should begin with a landscape map of the village. The procedure for preparing such a landscape map has been eloborated earlier. The investigator can profitably visit the LSEs alongwith knowledgeable individuals to assess the pattern of change. As a matter of fact this information can be obtained during initial field visits only. However, the limited familiarity with landscape and species in the beginning may result in our loosing some vital information. Hence, the section is placed here. If field visits are again conducted at this stage, they can used to validate them. 11.2.1. Assessing current status: Select few KIs from a user group. Visit LSEs used by the user group and confirm the status of availability of the bioresources used/ protected by them. If your team has an expert who can identify the botanical name/ zoological name of the species, then he/ she can use this occasion to list them. If no such expert is available or the identification is not readily possible then the team can note down description or preserve the specimen, or animals in formalin for identification/ confirmation later. Knowledgeable individuals would remark on the status of the forest or scrub or grassland as good, degraded or regenerating etc, if probed intelligently. About most species they may comment on the status (abundance) as very common, occasional, rare etc. This should be recorded carefully. 11.2.2 Estimating past status: One can assess the earlier status of the LSE or species relative to the current status. This needs to be sought with reference to some historical bench mark (HBM) e.g. flooding or death of a prominent person or any other prominent phenomenon of which year can be traced back from literature or people. Thus KI may be of the opinion today's degraded forest was a good forest earlier or that current scrub has grown up in place of abandoned habitation etc. Similarly they may remark on increase or reduction or constancy in the abundance or availability of a species. They may provide pictures of such changes with reference to one (say 20 yrs ago) or two (say 20 and 55 yrs) benchmarks. 11.2.3 Examples Following are two examples of reconstructing ecological history from the WGBN: a) Team 1: RANWA (Study site: Supegaon, Maharasthra) This team arranged a group discussion (GD) with the elders of Supegaon village in order to collect data regarding Ecological History. The GD revealed that shifting cultivation was practised in the past. People said that their fore-fathers used to clear nearby forests in patches and cultivated ragi. But they were not able to recollect the period in which this happened. The team was interested in finding out the period during which shifting cultivation was practised. Because the team had few experts in forest ecology they decided to visit the sites where the cultivation was believed to have been practised along with some knowledgable individuals. In the field the experts could differentiate regenerating forest patches from the old growth forest patches. They estimated the age of the regenerated forest, based on judgement of average tree sizes and growth rates and then estimated the period of shifting cultivation. b) Team 2: American College (Sathuragiri, Tamilnadu) When the team from Tamil Nadu visited their study site Sathuragiri with some knowledgable individuals of that area, they found out that most of the economically important timber yielding old trees were missing in the forest. They could see only saplings of tree species. When asked the local tribals reported that a group of outsiders stayed in that forest for more then two years and cleared all the huge timber yielding trees. The local tribals were unable to recollect the exact period when this happened. The team did not have any experts in forestry, so they were not in a position to estimate the period. They took another route. While the team members were collecting secondary informations from Gazatteer, it was mentioned that their study area was under the control of Saptur Zamin. Saptur is about 30 km. away from the study area. The team visited the Saptur and interviewed one of the sons of the Zamin and recorded that during 1947-51 that area was neither in the control of the forest department nor in the hands of the Zamin. During that short period, extensive poching and illicit felling of trees took place at Sathuragiri. 11.2.4 Identification of the Driving Forces: Seek from KIs the causes underlying behind the changes in LSEs or species such as hunting overharvesting or neglect or alternatives created or change in legal status or development activities etc. There may be at time more than one driving force. This generates an understanding of the ecological history of a LSE and its main species. Likewise we can visit other important LSEs and seek their ecological history and the history of their major species. Ofcourse many species especially animals, would be common to may LSEs and thier documentaion need not repeat every time. The next step would be to explore management options. Apart from consulting KIs, this could best be done in group discussions. 11.2.5 Establishing benchmarks a) Historical benchmarks Example: A question without bench mark. Interviewer: Could you tell how commen the tigers were during 1960s ? Respondent : Amm...??? Sorry. I don't know the exact year. There used to be some tigers. A question with Bench Mark Interviewer: Could you tell how common the tigers were before the temple was built ? Respondent : Prior to the temple, there were many tigers. I had about five encounters with tigers during that period. Hence, it is suggested that the team has to look for such a well known event as benchmarks (flood, earthquake, temple, pond, well or death of a prominent person etc.) in their early stage of work. The next step is sit with knowledgeable individuals or with supporting literature materials to find out the exact year in which those events took place. If such information is available then these events can be used as benchmarks. Usage of bench marks promotes accuracy and precision. a) LSE bench mark Example: Interviewer: You know about LSE A, B and C. LSE A is highly degraded, LSE B is degradedd whereas LSE C is better off. Could you tell me about the status of the LSE C before the temple was built. Was it the same or like LSE A or B or something else, whether bettr than today or worse than A or intermediate ? Respondent: The LSE C was something similar to that of LSE a/ b. But after the temple is built no one is cutting trees in that area so it has become better, as of today. 11.3 GROUP DISCUSSION II: MANAGEMENT OPTIONS Invite members of each user group seperately for a group discussion to identify their management options. If the number is too high, arrange for as many group discussions as possible with limited number of participants permitted by time and manpower constraints. If the UG uses more than one LSE/ type, subsample according to LSE usage, if necessary/ feasible. The management options of the user group can be further analysed and the forces which mould the choice of options by the user group can be traced. Example: Three families of hunters hunt over a territory of 50 sq km. Recently they stopped hunting hoenbills, when probes, they said that the number of hornbills is reducing sharply these days. This user group chose to switch over from using a species to saving it as the management option. When probed further about the decline in number of hornbills, they gave an interesting answer. "The hornbills prefer only large soft wood trunk to make their nests. They make a hole in the trunk and lay their eggs inside. Now large trees are not available because during last decade outsiders have felled and smuggled out the large trees". This answer explains the ultimate driving force behind the change the behaivour of hunters. For each existing management practice/ future option the user group may have one or many driving forces originating within or outside the study area. The team has to carefully study the various clues in order to explore, find out chain of the possible factors and forces, both proximate (immediate, obvious) and ultimate (hidden, deeper cause). In the group disscusion the team can use the LSE map as a visual aid. Following topics can be discussed - A) Usage/ destruction For what end use or destroy (subsistence/ commerce/ life and property defence) they are using a species/ LSE from the study area? How long have they been using/ culling it ? What are the changes in levels of harvest/ population over this period? Can they continue to use/ have it with current levels of availability, if nothing else changes? How many years more? In case the species/ LSE would decline, what are their future options? B) Currently protected a) Why they are currently fully/ partly protecting a LSE/ SP? Was it used by them any time earlier? How? b) Are they interested to protect them further ? On what condition (moral, religious, economic, legal etc)? c) If they are not interested in protecting, would they utilize (or destroy/ transform) a species/ LSE? In what way? C) Currently unprotected a) Are they interested in offering part or full protection to a currently unprotected species or LSE? b) If so, why they would like to protect and on what conditions they will protect ? c) If not, would the supply population remain constant with current levels of harvest/ destruction? If not, would they like to initiate some measures later? Or would they like to switch over to another resource? 11.4 HOME WORK: MANAGEMENT OPTIONS Using the answers given by the each user group the team can List the various factors/ forces which are operating against/ for the user group while deciding upon protecting a SP/ LSE or utilizing a SP/ LSE. The team needs to systematically compile all the informtion in probably three major categories as follows: 11.4.1 Species/ LSEs currently protected - Current efforts from the user groups (already being put in). - Future efforts required from the user group and others (under changed circumstances) 11.4.2 Harmful species/ LSEs neither protected nor utilized - The nature and scale of nuisance/ damage. - Conditions for protection (changes in the existing norms). - Requirements for protection (physical measures or efforts). - Participation of other user groups/ outsiders/ village administration (cooperation). - Role of women/ children/ men (division of labour) - Role of NGOs/ temple authorities/ RI/ CI/ traders. 11.4.3 Species/ LSEs currently utilised/ culled - Need/ demand/ local/ outside. - Method or quantities of extraction of biological resources which may help conservation or lead to desturction. - Desired changes for orienting utilization towards conservation. - Requirements for the change (efforts, measures, mechanisms). - Co-operation from other user groups, local people. - Expected changes in the access regime (legal/ practical). 11.4.5 Changes in species/ LSEs from protection to utilization/ culling or vice versa . - demand/ reason - influence of other user groups - shift in the lifestyle/ attitude of the user group members After studying all user groups, major LSEs and species; the team is in a position to compile all the data and draw broad conclusions about ecological history of major vegetation/ LSE types (all LSEs of a type pooled together) and future changes. More importantly, one can identify the contrasting ideas of different user groups about certain LSEs/ species as well as areas of concensus. The time is then ripe for a discussion of future planning to minimize areas of conflict and enhance degree of confluence. 11.5 GROUP DISCUSSION III The GD III is a vital one. During GD III the team should encourage each user group to come out with their future plan. To help the planning process the data compiled as above should be presented to the team. The team cam present the information along the following lines - 1) Current status of the LSEs/ species which are used by the user group. 2) Projected future status of the LSEs/ species which are used by the same user group. At least two kinds of projections can be made using the available data. a) if the current driving forces do not change. b) If the driving forces are altered i. factors which can alter the driving forces ii. role of other user groups in altering the driving forces 3) Their reactions to proposed plans of other user groups (local/ outsiders) a) Who depend on the bioresouces of the study area ? b) Who have the power to control the access of the bioresoures to others/ concerned user group ? c) Who have the competence and infrastructure to undertake scientific research or social development ? Upon presenting this background information find out the reaction from each user group towards protecting and utilizing the bioresources which are available to them, and especially areas of overlap between two or more user groups. Let them prioratize their options with reference to the LSEs and species, taking into account this full picture. Example: The user group `A' would like to protect/ utilize SP/ LSE if the following conditions are fulfilled. Condition 1)__________________________ 2)__________________________ User group `A' promises to contribute the following efforts and skills to protect/ utilize the same Efforts: 1) _________________________ 2) _________________________ 3) _________________________ User group `A' would like to get help from the following outsiders/ other user groups for the following: Name Nature of help 1) _______________ ______________________ 2) _______________ ______________________ User group `A' would suggest the following modifications are made in the existing ownership pattern/ power structure/ rules and regulations/ pricing policy. 1) _______________________ 2) _______________________ 11.6 GRAM SABHA II: The team may conduct a Gram Sabha or combined group discussions with the following objectives in mind: - To present a clear picture of the different LSEs/ SPs protected and utilized over a period of time in the study area. - To appreciate the collective role of all the user groups in protecting and utilizing the local bioresources. - To highlight the impact of migrants and other outsiders in protecting and utilizing the bioresources. - To bring out future plans of different user groups which may call for participation of the entire village community/ participation by more than one user group. - To indicate the areas of concensus and more importantly of conflict between user groups - both locals and outsiders and possible ways to minimize the conflicts, and strengthen the confluence. Use the LSE map and prepare charts, diagrams, posters, cartoons to explain these issues. Let your presentation be as simple as possible. Encourage people to ask questions and answer them with plenty of patience and clarity. In a sense, at the end of the day, we come out with a general and widely agreed plan of action, leaving out the grey or conflict areas that cannot be resolved despite all efforts at local level. We have thus reconciled views within the village and generated some common understanding. 11.7 GRAM SABHA III: THE VILLAGERS FIRST AGENDA Grama Sabha III may be conducted in order to inform the decisions made by each user group and arrive at a concensus from the local people. Homework There may still remain disputes and ambiquity, but we will focuss on broad consensus. Or else, these ideas may be further crystallised through a group discussions with a few members of the user groups along following lines - 1) Ranking each plan according to the preference of the various respondents being interviewed. 2) Arrange the plans according to the priorities of the respondents being interveiwed. 3) Identify various factors which may influence introduction/ execution of the suggested plans. 4) List the problems related to executing/ introducing the plan as predicted by the respondents, especially problems relating to other user group. 5) List the merits, demerits and discuss feasibility of various alternative plans. PROJECT ACTIVITIES PHASE III BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION PRIORITIZATION ------------------------------------------------------------ ACTIVITY TEAM - DAYS ------------------------------------------------------------ Individual interviews I 6 (Developmental aspirations) Individual interviews II 8 (Outer links) Home work: (Development and Conservation) 2 Conservation prioritization 4 Grama Sabha III: (Conservation stratergy) 4 ---------------------------------------------------------- Total 24 12 CONSERVATION VIS A VIS DEVELOPMENT ASPIRATIONS 12.1 INTRODUCTION: We have by now ameliorated as far as possible the different opinions about management options within the villagers, and have a fairly widely argued plan of the people. But this is just not sufficient because the plan may be of little significance to local people under current of future scenario as they visualise. Secondly, several outsiders would prevail upon local people in managing the local natural resources and biodiversity. We try to tackle both the issues here. Under the existing circumstances the local people who have knowledge, skills and abilities in protecting, utilizing and destroying or controlling the biodiversity have little management authority. The traditional management practices of sustianable utilization have been uprooted since the British confiscation of the forest and commonlands. The people have a very different attitude and world view than a few decade ago. For, they have received tremendous cultural shock of late. They also have several development aspirations - both individual and community level. To identify how far the interests of local people differ from the authorities who have the power to make decisions and enforce them. To evaluate the level of importance (priority) people attach to biodiversity and its conservation in relation to their overall personal and village development aspirations. To assign priorities to grassroot level options for biodiversity conservation taking into account the power structure. It is often noticed that people opine differently in public and in private. They are more secured in private and often opine what they actually believe in public they may tend to populist or antagonist. Also, organising meetings of people in various categories would be very costly and often inconclusive. Hence, we suggest that interviews would better inform us on such sensitive issues. 12.2 INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS: ASPIRATIONS 12.2.1 WHOM TO INTERVIEW? We present here various groups of people including outsiders to the study area, based on their relation to decision making and implementation. One should choose a few people at random from as many categories as possible. The categories and their details are as follows: 1) People who cannot technically make decisions for the study area, but may or may not enact/ practice their own decisions at small scale. a) All KI. i) Gender classes ii) Economic strata. b) Teachers (High school, PUC) i) Within locality. ii) Nearest place where local students go. c) Seasonal migrants (Opportunistic surveys) i) Pastoral (Based on animal husbandary) ii) Non-pastoral (Entertainers, medicine men, hunters, gatherers, beggars, religious people, nomadic tribes). 2) People who can influence the decision makers a) NGOs/ NGIs i) Field workers, Researchers, Grassroots level workers. ii) Directors, and project staff. b) Commercial enterprises i) Small scale/ cottage:- Traders in NTFP, agricultural products etc. Value addition processing like saw mill, furniture etc. ii) Large scale industry:- Larger industries depending upon small-scale/ cottage industries, e.g. pharmaceuticals etc. Mining, polluting industries etc. c) Local people welfare associations/ societies and movements 3) People who enforce/ implement but do not make the decisions a) Govt. departments (like forest, revenue, BDO, agriculture, fisheries, PWD, etc.) 4) People who make the decisions and policies. a) Elected panchayat members from the concerned locality, President and other office bearers deciding upon local policies. b) Politicians concerned with the village MLAs, MP, co- operative society directors who advocate regional policies. c) Officials (bureacrats) and experts (policy advisers) who draft regional policies. All the interviews conducted under this module specifically study individual interests related to conservation of biodiversity with our study locality as an example. 12.2.2 CONTENTS: WHAT TO INTERVIEW? a) Local people: 1. What they would like to contribute to the conservation practices and what they would like to get out of conserving the bioresources? Religious or cultural satisfaction or direct economic benefits? 2. What are their personal interests in the life as a whole; may be regarding future occupation, children's career etc.? 3. How much importance do they accord to biodiversity and its conservation in the light of these interests (High, Medium, Low)? Does biodiversity (utilization or conservation) help or would help them in future in acheiving their personal desires? 4. What are their views on village development priorities? (transport, communication, education, health, agriculture, industry etc). What value or +ve/ -ve impact biodiversity and its conservation has in this framework? What needs to be changed for it to be prominent on this agenda, or is this a impossible preposition? 5. How much do they know about the importance of the biodiversity and the current developments at the local and global level? For instance, convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) requesting sharing benefits by biodiversity enterprenures with local people; or general agreement or trade and tarriff (GATT) granting patents on life processes and products; subsequent Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) issues over knowledge etc. What is their reaction to all this? b) Outsiders: 1. How far do they value biodiversity and conservation in their individual and institutional development agenda? High, Modest, Low ? Future prospects? Why? 2. What are their interests in biodiversity and conservation of the study area in particular regional/ national perspective? General (say ethical or legal) or by default (duty) or anything in particular (say sentimental or economic)? 3. What are their personal contributions to the utilization or conservation of bioresorces? Future prospects? 4. What is their opinion about the people's patterns of utilization and conservation of biodiversity and people's priorities as studied here? Are they feasible? Desirable? If not, where do the problems lie? How to tackle these? If possible we can and should take alongwith us some local people to discuss these issues with the outsiders. After we hear the outsiders fully we or the local person can try to appreciate the justified views and debate the unjust or conflicting views. There could be a process of negotiations and a broad agreement reached, as far as possible, in probably the only visit to each outsider. Note that trade offs i.e. compromises should begin only after the complete presentation by the outsiders. The team should select for interviews the outsiders suggested by the local people, who have some relation with the study area. The team should also select those having power/ authority to decide (or help the decision maker) on what happens in the study area such as officials or politians having the study area under their juridiction but who may not have any direct contact with villagers. The interviews need to be conducted intelligently and skillfully as these rich and mighty people are used to brush aside the main concern and escape with slippery answers or else, they may, especially politicians instantly but superficially agree with whatever interviewer suggests. 12.3 HOME WORK: DEVELOPMENT AND CONSERVATION The results of interview I and II should be classified and various kinds of interests grouped. Local peoples interests and the outsider's interest should be compared and the values they attach to biodiversity and conservation be ranked. The outputs of this exercise can be grouped under two categories as follows - 12.3.1 Areas of conflict and concensus - Despite all the negotiations and compromises there would remain some conflict - contraversial areas and some `grey' areas of insufficient knowledge. Ofcourse, the process of dialogue would boil down to many areas of common understanding too. We need to present it as follows - 1) A list of outsiders and their interests common with/ similar to local people. 2) A list of outsiders and their interests which are in conflict with those of the local people. 3) A list of interests of the local people of which the outsiders were/ are unaware. 12.3.2 Importance accorded to biodiversity and conservation - 1) User groups (both villagers and outsiders) having biodiversity and conservation (High, Modest, Low) on their personal and social agenda; and their rationale behind this valuation. 2) User groups (both villagers and outsiders) arranged according to their influence on biodiversity and conservation, both in reality (say industrialist or poachers or timber smugglers) and theoratically/ technically (say officials or juridicary). 3) An understanding of likely future status of biodiversity, utilization and conservation as a cummulative effect of these two aspects, its repurcassions and detailing management options which will emerge as a balance between the various forces. 12.4 GRAM SABHA III: FINALIZING BIODIVERSITY STRATERGY Based upon the feedback from the interviews and home work, the team has to motivate each user group to prioritize their options and a stratergy for biodiversity and conservation. The purpose of GS III or combined GD III will be: 1) To summarise the current status, history and future scenario of their village biodiversity and the driving forces. 2) To pointout strong areas and weak areas in management of biological resources and its influence on people in past, present and future. 3) To project the plans evolved by different user group and the areas of conflicts and consensus both within village and with the outsiders. 4) To identify the areas where modification is needed in existing structure or the proposed plans. 5) To analyse the driving forces behind areas of consensus and if these could be strengthened to resolve existing conflicts in future. 6) To identify suitable mechanisms institutions, funds and coordinates to execute the plans so generated, at village level and how this could feed into state and national framework. PROJECT ACTIVITY 13. REPORT WRITING 13.1 CREDITS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The reports would be prepared at the level of villages, state and nation, in a nested fashion. The reports would clearly indicate respective sections as being facts or opinions of local people or investigators' judgements etc. The responsibility and credit of these reports would go to the agency entrusted for the study at respective levels. Investigators and agencies at various levels are welcome to publish the part or whole or versions of their reports, once the project is over and due acknowledgements to agencies and individuals at various levels made. However, co- authorship should not be confered on any individual or organisation without their consent. 13.1.1 Village level: Investigators are welcome to prepare these in the local language so that can be used by local educated people, if any. For the state level compilation, the investigator would pass on the sorted data or a draft report or final report reports, written in English or the state language, for the purpose of computerisation. These norms are to be evolved by the state nodal agency and the investigator concerned. 13.1.2 State Level: The state nodal agency would receive all the locality specific organised datasets and probably draft reports well in advance - say by May 1997. Otherwise, the local investigators would submit the datasets in phases - say November 1996, February 1996 and May 1997. These would be computerised by the state nodal agency and analysed and interpreted. It would prepare the state report, in English and possibly state language for wider circulation and follow - up. 13.1.3 National level: Centre for Ecological Sciences would receive all the computerised datasets by May 1997, and preferably draft reports too. It would collate a national level report, by August 1997 in English, for a wider national and international circulation. 13.2 CHAPTERISATION: The reports at the local, state and national level would be shaped along similarly. Following is a framework of the national report. The relevant chapters or sections can be incorporated in the state or local reports. 13.2.1 Social setting, Broad picture: Human communities and their relationship with land, water and biological resources. Prevalent systems of property rights over natural resources. Pertinent religious beliefs, commercial demands for land, water, biological resources and how they are met. Systems of governance: political and bureaucratic institutions controlling use and development of land, water and biological resources. Systems of recording information on land, water, biological resources. Practical ecological knowledge. Official records. Scientific knowledge. 13.2.2 People's relationship with biological diversity: Detailed picture of how different segments of the society; tribal and rural communities, men and women, political leadership, bureaucracy, traders and entrepreneurs, teachers and scientists relate to diverse biological resources. Subsistence uses, commercial uses. Religious, Cultural, Scientific, aesthetic perspectives. Direct conflicts (e.g. crop raiding). Indirect conflicts through interest in transforming land and water use patterns. 13.2.3 Distribution of diversity: Distribution and relative richness of economically useful plants, fishes, birds and larger mammals along two major axes of property rights and ecosystems. Core and buffer zones of protected areas. Reserve forests. Protected forests. Revenue lands. Government lands and waters. Temple lands and waters. Corporate lands and waters. Individually owned lands and waters. Different types of forests, scrubland, grassland, flowing waters, ponds, lakes, coastal zones, open ocean etc. Distribution of the different ecosystems in terms of fragmentation, varying levels of human impacts. 13.2.4 Ongoing ecological changes: How the land and water use is changing along the two axes of property rights and ecosystem types. How direct demands for harvests of different biological resources are changing with changes in patterns of subsistence or commercial use, religious beliefs. How direct demands for elimination of certain biological populations are increasing due to changing patterns of land and water use, or problems such as crop raiding. Changes in demand for maintenance/protection of certain biological populations because they are useful or of some religious, aesthetic, scientific value. What seems to be forces driving these ecological changes (e.g. demand for cultivable land by immigrants, generation of industrial effluents, demand for granite for export, demand for certain medicinal plants, demand for constitution of core zone of national park). 13.2.5 Implications of ecological changes for diversity: How this whole series of ongoing ecological changes is affecting the focal elements of biological diversity, namely, economically useful plants, fishes, birds, larger mammals. 13.2.6 Social perceptions of conservation issues: These are to be recorded separately, for the various local communities, political, administrative, commercial interests, men and women, as well as what emerges through various group discussions. What elements of biological diversity deserve to be conserved, what elements deserve to be eliminated. Where should these elements be conserved, where they should be eliminated. This should be discussed in terms of the two axes of lands and waters under different property rights regimes and different types of ecosystems. Also to be recorded are the views of different social constituents on how the conservation programmes are to be implemented. In particular (a) What kinds of legal provisions are needed, what kinds of amendments to forest act, panchayati raj act, minerals act, environmental protection act etc. are desirable (b) what kinds of property rights regimes, for instance, rights of local communities, or panchayats in reserve forest or revenue wastelands are desirable? (c) What kinds of institutions will facilitate conservation measures, e.g. village forest protection committees, forest labour co-operatives? (d) What kinds of regulatory measures are desirable, e.g. ban on grazing in reserve forest areas? (e) What kinds of incentives or service charges may be desirable, eg. special grants to Panchayats for continuing protection to a sacred pond, special award to an individual for maintaining a collection of jackfruit germplasm on her farm etc. (f) What kinds of compensation for accepting damage from wildlife e.g. if crop raiding by elephants is desirable; how should payment of such compensation be organized? (g) What types of commercial uses of biodiversity elements, e.g. medicinal herbs should be promoted. How should such usage be regulated? (h) What forms of biodiversity based enterprises would be promoted, how should they be encouraged, regulated? 13.2.7 Social aspirations for development: These are to be recorded separately for the various local communities, political, administrative commercial interests, man and women, as well as what emerges through various group discussions. The discussions should focus on development aspirations for the whole variety of sectors - agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, industry, mining, transport, tourism, health, education etc. Of particular interest is how these developments would influence land and water use patterns and directly or indirectly biodiversity. Measures to minimize resultant conflicts as well as to promote biodiversity friendly developments. 13.2.8 Personal aspirations: These are to be recorded separately for various local communities, political, administrative, commercial interests, men and women, as well as through group discussions. The focus is on what people want out of life, and what role do they see for conservation of biodiversity in relation to their personal aspirations. Do they personally value biodiversity as a possible source of income, as a source of aesthetic, religious, cultural, scientific satisfaction, or are they indifferent or hostile to biodiversity. What kinds of conservation efforts are people willing to support personally. 13.2.9 Promoting conservation: This concluding section would pull together the lessons contained in the previous sections and make specific suggestion as to how to conserve or restore biodiversity, with respect to legislation, property rights regimes, institutions, commercial use patterns, regulatory measure, incentives, religious, cultural, scientific activities that would have broad based public support. 13.2.10 Annexures: The annexures would probably much more relevant to each locality specific report. At the state or national level, these may be organised in the form of databases and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) rather than enormous unprocessed data at the state or national in the form of maps and tables/ lists which are of little help for information retrival. T) Tables/ Charts T.1. Efforts invested- Number of interviewers (if necessary break up by categories), Number of respondents (if necessary break up by categories), Interviewer days/ hours (if necessary break up by categories), Respondent days/ hours (if necessary break up by categories), Degree and nature of aquaintance with villagers prior to study, Degree and nature of aquaintance with outsiders prior to study, Data compilation days/ hours (if necessary by categories), Data analysis days/ hours (if necessary break up by categories). T.2. Village Profile - State, District, Taluka, Panchayat, Access, Area, Population, Communication, Water, Health, Education, Development, Communities, Occupations, Population break up. T.3. Species (/Groups) Information - This includes information about 20-50 species on following aspects: local name, its local meaning, scientific name (if available through experts), life-form, preferred LSEs/ types and respective status, access norms and regulations, historical bench marks, driving forces, past and future changes vis a vis user groups and outsiders, field knowledge, ranked values regarding market, subsistence, culture, religion and management priorities across user groups and outsiders, conflicts and consensus. T.5. Landscape Element (/LSE Type) Information - This will include information about 10-20 LSEs belonging to 5 to 10 LSE types on following parameters: local name of each LSE, its meaning in local language, scientific LSE typology and description, status of soil, surface and ground water, access norms and regulations, historical bench marks, driving forces, past and future changes vis a vis user groups and outsiders, field knowledge, ranked values regarding market, subsistence, culture, religion and management priorities across user groups and outsiders, conflicts and consensus. T.6. Management options:- Major management regimes, changes, future preferences and driving forces for important species and LSEs/ types. T.7. Development priorities:- Main thrust areas for development as desired by various user groups both within and outsiders the village, and how this would benefit or harm major species or LSEs/ typres. T.8. Personal aspirations:- Important personal aspirations, and ranking of biodiversity and conservation within this framework, across user groups. T.9. Consensus and Conflict Issues:- Key issues where people across village and outside user groups agree and are at cross-roads, and how these would positively or negatively affect biodiversity, and whether/ how the confluence areas strengthened, contrast minimized in future. T.10. Strategies and action plan:- The priority species, LSEs and measures required as well as feasible for protection and/or utilisation and/or transformation. M) Maps a> Essential maps - M.1. Habitation map/s M.2. Landscape map according to local terminology b. Optional maps - M.3. Landscape map according to scientific methodology M.4. Historical landscape map/s M.5. Key (bio)resources' location on the landscape map M.6. Developing priorities and management options map M.7. Landscape map with conservation priorities/ stratergy M.6. Futuristic map, considering overall situation D) Diagrams D.1. Annual Activity Schedule D.2. Land scape/ use/ ownership classification D.2. Species proportions by usage categories D.3. Species proportion by abundance categories D.4. Landscape elements/ LSE types by usage D.5. Landscape elments by management options D.6. Management options by user groups/ numbers

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