, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 248-258

Traditional ecological knowledge and community-based natural resource management in northeast India

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Abstract

Community-based natural resource management in northeast India has a long history. Indigenous knowledge and adaptation are the collective information, with improvement from generation to generation. The expectation is that under community control, local expertise on biodiversity will play a significant role in natural resource management through traditional practices. This paper discusses the characteristics and application of the traditional ecological knowledge of aboriginal peoples in northeast India and its role in natural resource management. Examples are provided in two different eco-cultural landscapes, i.e., Demazong (the Buddhist eco-cultural landscape in Sikkim Himalaya) and the Apatani eco-cultural landscape in Arunachal Pradesh, which illustrate the utility value of traditional ecological knowledge in sustainable natural resource management. Both eco-cultural landscapes are indeed very complex and highly evolved systems with high levels of economic and ecological efficiencies. The paper concludes that traditional ecological knowledge systems and institutions could serve as entry points into the sustainable utilization and management of natural resources. This could be achieved through the exploration of the cultural practices of the local people and integrating useful aspects into the modern natural resource management expertise. With rapidly depleting biodiversity in the developing tropic regions, there is a greater utilization today than ever before of the value of respecting the “Sacred” as a tool towards better conservation of natural resources.