Community Conserved Areas In India: A Directory – Ed. Neema Pathak


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As one traverses the length and breadth of India, one often comes across the co-existence of humans and wildlife, even in the midst of ecological degradation. There are sacred forests, villages tanks with waterfowl, stretches of beach or river protected for nesting turtles or spawning fish, catchment forests, grasslands with blackbuck, and many others. The most ancient ‘protected areas’ are sites that have been sheltered from human disturbance by communities themselves.

There are a variety of reasons why communities protect the biodiversity of their landscapes: for spiritual or religious reasons, for sustainable resource use, for political or economic reasons, as a conscious or subconscious carrying on of traditions, or because of a newer sensibility, based on knowledge about the need to conserve threatened species or habitats.

Recognizing and supporting such efforts, and creating an environment to facilitate their spread, has the potential to start a conservation mass movement in the country. Such a mass movement could bring a much larger area under conservation than available today.

Community Conserved Areas or CCAs are now an internationally recognized phenomenon. This Directory is the world’s first country-wide compilation and analysis of CCAs. It describes a diversity of such initiatives, attempting to gain a deeper understanding of conservation of biological diversity, local livelihoods, people’s rights and development, through around 140 case studies across 23 Indian states.


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