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Community Conservation Initiatives: Old Jalukie Community Biodiversity Reserve

The community inhabiting the district is nature conscious and the instinct for conservation had always prevailed in the social system since time immemorial, evident in initiatives like setting aside certain areas as reserves imposing ban on felling and hunting for a certain period in a year. Whereas, in despise of all traditional reverence usually accorded with the sustainer, the district witnessed the heights of nature destruction during the ‘80s in the form of logging and hunting resulting in colossal loss of exhaustible forest resources which takes long to replenish. A creation of necessity itself, the Old Jalukie “Community Reserve” was locally declared in the year 1986 by a resolution of the village council and it stands tall as one pioneering community initiatives in the country, successfully preserved in its pristine condition.

In the advanced mode of conservation initiated at the community level today, the concept of biodiversity conservation and watershed/catchment area basis had taken the forefront in the management strategies and with the timely intervention of the State Govt. the district is witnessing few villages stepping forth for conservation efforts during recent years. And thus, have led to the declaration of an area of 208 hectare under Old Jalukie village council as “Community Biodiversity Reserve” by signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Forest Department and Old Jalukie village on the 16th June 2012, while an addition of another 100 ha. is still in the offing within few months time. The primary objective of conserving the area is in conformity with the fact that, the area is a viable watershed for many rivers which are the water pipelines sustaining the paddy fields of Jalukie valley and that, in the absence of any adjacent viable habitat it serves as a safe haven for escaping wildlife who converge here for survival.

The Old Jalukie Community Biodiversity Reserve (CBR) is managed by the Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) Old Jalukie, with special emphasis on forest resource utilization, revenue earning and imposition of regulatory mechanisms and strictures for conservation; imposing total ban on green felling, jhum, hunting and forest fire, varying degree of restrictions in fuelwood collection and extraction of Non-Timber Forest Produce by locals, imposing royalty on collection of humus, boulders and pebbles, quarrying etc.; these regulatory made equally applicable to the local villagers but totally exclude the outsiders from the purview of resource utilization.

Community conservation and impact on community:
The pressure on forests was greatly reduced after providing LPG connection to all households in the village, with supplies and refilling arrangement from M/S Khate Gas Agency Jalukie and the condition specific to this village is that, all LPG connections remains the property of JFMC and 50% cost of refilling borne by beneficiary and 50% by the JFMC.

Illegal activities like hunting, green felling, forest fire within the reserve area is drastically discouraged as a result of engaging 3 (three) local forest guards at a monthly allowance of Rs. 2000/- per head w.e.f July 2012, who patrol the area and apprehend any offenders involved in illegal activities, thereby seizing materials and equipments and disposing off the case at the JFMC or Village council level as per customary practices.

Afforestation activities with indigenous tree species is being taken up since 2002-03 and overtime the forest has witnessed regenerated of species at all levels thereby increasing the forest cover and biodiversity. Moreover, the pool of NTFPs have also increased whereby the locals were allowed free access for domestic purposes and sparingly allowed for trade purposes as well, thereby generating income to local households through trade and forestry activities like seed collection, nursery, planting, weeding, harvesting etc.

As a component of conservation, the village had introduced a “Village Resource Management Plan” for sustainable resource management with least disturbance to the ecosystem. The VRMP includes plans to regulate system of jhum, extraction of NTFPs and humus, quarrying of stone boulders and pebbles etc.

Ecotourism is also having immense potential in the district, Peren district being the “green district of Nagaland” is an epitome of nature in perfect synchrony with time and civilization that nestles and preserves what is now called remnants of the animistic population of the highlanders. And Old Jalukie Community Biodiversity Reserve, being just 40-50 km distance from Dimapur railway and airport facility, serves as the nearest forest area easily accessible in the State can be a tourist destination.

Rampaukai Mpom
Range Forest Officer
Jalukie Range; Peren Division

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