This paper in the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge deals with traditional natural resource management practices of forest dependent communities in Arunachal Pradesh. The present study attempts to provide preliminary insights on the overall paradigm of resource assessment for meeting various requirements of people residing closer to biological resources per se, particularly in resource rich areas.
These forest dependent communities have acquired the wisdom on natural resource management through vigorous interaction with nature and through continued growth of their indigenous knowledge systems. Tribals in the fringe villages of study area in the Banderdewa forest range, depend on Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) extraction and other livelihood options such as traditional farming, fisheries cattle rearing etc.
The study indicates that the traditional management practices of natural resources have sustained the tribal societies in the hilly areas of North East India. Certain tribes such as the Angami, Chakesang and Konyak practice jhum (local name for slash and burn agriculture) cultivation by retaining Alnus nepalensis, a nitrogen fixing non-leguminous species tree that replenishes soil fertility. Also, the Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh have been dependent on traditional irrigation systems in the terraced paddy fields where they practice fish-cum-paddy cultivation.
Overall, the study revealed that the natural resource management practice of the same tribe does vary owing to territorial status and household level family system which in turn is governed by infrastructural support and employment opportunity in the area. Nonetheless, the traditional knowledge base of the tribal communities drive the pace of resource utilization and management practices that has a bearing on the overall biodiversity conservation and land management.