Mainstreaming Community-Conserved Areas for Biodiversity Conservation in Nagaland [India]

Organization : The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

Project Period
: July 2016 - June 2018
Project Site
: 5,794 ha
Grant Amount
: US$ 87,000
Co-financing
: US$ 85,000

Executive Summary :

In Nagaland, traditional conservation and wise-use practices have helped protect biodiversity over the centuries. Despite this, rampant hunting, forest degradation and tree felling are greatly threatening the State’s biodiversity. The revival of traditional conservation practices through the creation of Community-Conserved Areas, however, offers hope for conservation, as communities set aside parcels of forests within productive, jhum (shifting cultivation) landscapes. A study of Nagaland’s CCAs found that one-third of Nagaland’s villages have constituted CCAs (TERI, 2015) of which as many as 82% have completely or partially banned hunting within the CCAs and/or tree felling, and enforce various regulations. Nevertheless, CCAs face numerous challenges- in their creation, effectiveness and sustainability. To ensure the future of Nagaland’s CCAs and thereby its biodiversity, a multi-pronged approach including alternative livelihood opportunities through the development of wildlife tourism, legal recognition, ecological restoration, and long-term ecological monitoring is required. Moreover, these CCAs comprise isolated forest fragments (average size is 500 ha) and only a handful form part of a larger network of community forests. The objectives of this project are to support community-based conservation to a) mobilise support for the formation of CCAs including larger networks of contiguous forest patches in Zunheboto district b) Revive traditional conservation practices (e.g. hunting bans during the breeding season) c) Carry out ecological assessments of these CCAs including the status of the Vulnerable Blyth’s Tragopan and other globally threatened species d) develop community-based ecotourism initiatives e) Formalise and mainstream a network of CCAs along with the Nagaland Government and Forest Department.

Main threatened species according to IUCN Red List that may be influenced by the project :

  • Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla)
  • Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)
  • Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus)