Pastoralists protect Forest Landscapes
Community management is the most appropriate way to conserve forest landscapes as local communities depend on these forests for their livelihoods. Both communities as well as forests need to co-exist to be sustainable. However, this calls for due recognition and support to the communities to be able to sustain and protect forests for mutual benefit.
‘Siliserh Chhind’, is a landscape located in buffer area of the Sariska Tiger Reserve, one of India’s iconic tiger reserves, in Alwar district of Rajasthan. ‘Chhind’ in local dialect means a landscape used largely for grazing. Covering about 30 villages, Siliserh Chhind is home to a large number of agro-pastoralist communities. ‘Gujjars’ are the predominant pastoralist community, comprising about 75% of the total population. The main source of livelihood of the people in the Chhind is animal husbandry and agriculture. Communities in these villages depend on forest land, popularly called as ‘Orans’, for livestock grazing, firewood, and also for collecting minor produce (e.g. wild herbs, nuts and fruits; medicinal plants; thatch, timber and stone for building; clay, leaves and grasses etc). Orans with a number of ponds serve as a source of drinking water for the livestock.