Action to support 'pro-poor' forests in India

In Orissa, India, IUCN Member Winrock International India (WII) is working with local communities to better manage forests within a wider agricultural landscape.

Sal leaf (Shorea robusta) Photo: J.M.Garg

In a zone between the Simlipal Tiger Reserve and the plain areas, WII plays an active role in the development of forest resources and livelihoods of the forest-dependent people in Orissa. Here, forests contribute about 25% of the average income, mostly through Non-Timber Forest products (NTFPs), of which the income from the sale of Sal leaves accounts for more than 90%.

Their project is part of IUCN's Livelihoods and Landscape Strategy (LLS) to address human and environmental needs simultaneously in large areas of land, aiming to deliver environmentally-friendly, financially sustainable and socially-equitable outcomes. In achieving multiple aims, planning decisions of different uses in different parts of a landscape often result in trade-offs that are negotiated between various groups that have interests in the landscape.

The main activities being undertaken are strengthening community institutions by integrating formal and informal community groups through participatory resource management principles. The Orissa Forest Department supports activities relating to raising awareness of biodiversity conservation, forest protection and livelihood enhancement among the local population.

WII’s work has evolved over time from just promoting NTFP livelihoods and the conservation of forests to promoting integrated natural resource management in government planning and programmes. With the support of the Ford Foundation, this work has been extended to assist the co-ordination of forest protection groups and community-based organizations into a federation of local NGOs, called MASS (the Mayurbhanj Swechasevi Samkhya), which today covers around 800 villages in the district.

For more information contact:
James Gordon, Knowledge Management Officer for Livelihoods and Landscapes or IUCN's Membership Unit

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