~ By Satvik Parashar
A recent study by Sandra Baqui´ from Columbia University and co-authors (including some NCCI members) assesses the effects of internal migration on poverty alleviation and reduced pressure on forests. Migration can, in theory, diversify income sources and increase asset ownership for a typical central Indian rural household. It can also contribute to forest restoration as a livelihood practice that is not dependent on forest extraction (compared to NTFP collection or cattle grazing). The study tests these very hypotheses with an extensive survey across rural central India.
The study was conducted in villages of central India, spanning the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, across a total geographical area of ~ 25 million hectares. Villages within 8km buffer of the forests were selected. They were split on the basis of distance from the town and then again on the basis of distance from the road, creating 4 groups. Total 5000 surveys were done in the 500 selected villages (10 households per village) equally distributed among the 4 groups.
~ By Satvik Parashar
Conservation on a holistic level that maintains biodiversity as well as local livelihood requires collaborations across scientists, local people, decision-makers and practitioners. Such strategy engages NGOs, researchers and governments within what is called a Science, Policy and Practice Interface (SPPI). This calls for the involvement of a socio-ecological network that drives collaborations between trans-disciplinary organizations and measures the effectiveness of the knowledge gained through this collaboration, for multiple goals. Our network – the NCCI is one such network, and a recent paper by Amrita Neelakantan, Kishore Rithe, Gary Tabor and Ruth DeFries discusses the institutional context within which NCCI operates and indicators that could measure our work in the future.
The familiar Central Indian Highlands cover an area of more than 450000 sq. kms, spanning the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The landscape consists of several Protected Areas (PAs) and Tiger Reserves (TRs), and is home to a variety of flora and fauna.
Central Indian Highlands and protected areas landscapes. (a) India and location of the Central Indian Highlands (CIH)region across three states (Yellow and orange polygons depicting parts Madhya Pradesh (MP), Chhattisgarh (CH) and Maharashtra (MH) states) as well as PAs (green polygons). (b) Forest cover (dark green) in the region with embedded PAs (lighter green polygons) show corridors between the PAs
~By Pakhi Das
Extreme climatic events and variability are on the rise around the world, with varying implications for populations across socio-economic conditions. The recent assessment report published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in July 2021 has reiterated the urgent need to develop climate resilient strategies to safeguard the health, prosperity and wellbeing of billions of people across the world. With some communities more dependent on natural resources than others, it has become more important now than ever to study the extent to which the changing climate affect various people from various socio-economic settings and develop strategic plans to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. A recent study by Pooja Choksi and collaborators examines seasonal migration as an livelihood strategy given current climatic variability amongst the vulnerable populations living in forest-fringe villages of the Central India Landscape (CIL).
Understanding the Association between Improved Household Living Standards and Reduced Forest Degradation
~ By Satvik Parashar
Can improving household living standards help control forest degradation? Interdisciplinary researchers from Universities across India and the USA (Columbia University, Ashoka University, University of Delaware, Azim Premji University and Johns Hopkins University) answer this question in their recent study. In the study, researchers quantify the role of improved living standards, such as durable housing, and alternatives to fuelwood for cooking, in alleviating pressure on forests and reducing degradation in the Central India Highlands.
The study region covers ~25 million hectares (7.6% of the total land area of India) across the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. Five thousand households were surveyed in 500 forest fringe villages (10 surveys per village) within 8 km of forest. The survey questions targeted two aspects of household living standards: 1) alternate energy for cooking, primarily the use of LPG or fuelwood for cooking, and 2) durability of house material i.e. kutcha or pucca house.
~ by Satvik Parashar
A recent study by interdisciplinary researchers ( from McGill University, Rutgers School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University and Deshpande Foundation, including some NCCI members from the University of Delaware, Columbia University, Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)) explores the efficacy of multiple cropping, seasonality and the socio-economic factors with respect to food security and especially dietary diversity. Specifically they explore the seasonal variation of dietary diversity and food security as well as the associations with multiple cropping and income sources in the region.
Food insecurity is a global problem, as 690 million people worldwide were still undernourished in 2019. Apart from this, the lack of diversity in dietary intake is responsible for chronic deficiency of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin A, and zinc). This deficiency is known as ‘hidden hunger’, and it affects around a quarter of the world population, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. This calls for intensive agriculture strategies such as multiple cropping, which involves harvesting crops more than once a year. The study tests the efficacy of this cropping in increasing food security as well as dietary diversity among the households.
200 households were surveyed from 40 villages within five districts of Madhya Pradesh (see map below). Same individuals from each household were surveyed for the three seasons (summer, monsoon and winter), resulting in 600 surveys.
Map of study area showing location of the 40 study villages within the five study districts at the boundary of the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, along with the spatial distribution of winter cropping (the second crop) in 2016 (cropped area data source: Jain et al 2017).
Project Spotlight highlights our members' work in Central India.
|Network for Conserving Central India||