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Livelihood gains and ecological costs of non-timber forest product dependence: assessing the roles of dependence, ecological knowledge and market structure in three contrasting human and ecological settings in south India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 January 2005

R. UMA SHAANKER
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus, Bangalore 560065, India Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Jakkur, Bangalore 560 065, India
K.N. GANESHAIAH
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Jakkur, Bangalore 560 065, India Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus, Bangalore 560065, India
SMITHA KRISHNAN
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India
R. RAMYA
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India
C. MEERA
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India
N.A. ARAVIND
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India
ARVIND KUMAR
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India
DINESH RAO
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India
G. VANARAJ
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India
J. RAMACHANDRA
Affiliation:
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, #659, 5th A Main, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India
REMI GAUTHIER
Affiliation:
Imperial College London, Wye Campus, Wye, Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom
JABOURY GHAZOUL
Affiliation:
Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, Berks, United Kingdom
NIGEL POOLE
Affiliation:
Imperial College London, Wye Campus, Wye, Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom
B.V. CHINNAPPA REDDY
Affiliation:
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus, Bangalore 560065, India

Abstract

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) constitute the single largest determinant of livelihoods for scores of forest fringe communities and poor people in the tropics. In India over 50 million people are believed to be directly dependent upon NTFPs for their subsistence. However, such human dependence on NTFPs for livelihood gains (win) has most frequently been at a certain ecological cost (lose). If livelihoods are to be maintained, the existing ‘win-lose’ settings have to be steered to a ‘win-win’ mode, otherwise, there could be severe erosion of the biological resources and loss of livelihoods (‘lose-lose’). Examining the dependence of forest fringe communities on NTFPs at three sites in south India with contrasting human and ecological settings, three key factors (extent of dependence on NTFPs, indigenous ecological knowledge and market organization) are likely to constrain reaching the win-win situation. How these factors shape the ecological cost of harvesting NTFPs at the three sites is examined. Within the parameter space of these factors, it is possible to predict outcomes and associations that will conform to win-win or win-lose situations. Empirical data derived from the three study sites demonstrate the causality of the observed associations. The key for long-term livelihood gains lies in reducing the ecological cost. Certain interventions and recommendations that could optimize the balance between livelihood gains and ecological cost are proposed.

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Copyright
© 2004 Foundation for Environmental Conservation

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Livelihood gains and ecological costs of non-timber forest product dependence: assessing the roles of dependence, ecological knowledge and market structure in three contrasting human and ecological settings in south India
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Livelihood gains and ecological costs of non-timber forest product dependence: assessing the roles of dependence, ecological knowledge and market structure in three contrasting human and ecological settings in south India
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