Environmental Management

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 26–43 | Cite as

“Tinni” Rice (Oryza rufipogon Griff.) Production: An Integrated Sociocultural Agroecosystem in Eastern Uttar Pradesh of India

  • Ranjay K. Singh
  • Nancy J. Turner
  • C. B. Pandey


This study reports how Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and informal cultural institutions have conserved key varieties of the wildgrowing rice, ‘tinni’ (red rice, or brownbeard rice, Oriza rufipogon Griff.), within the Bhar community of eastern Uttar Pradesh, India. The study was conducted, using conventional and participatory methods, in 10 purposively selected Bhar villages. Two distinct varieties of tinni (‘tinni patali’ and ‘tinni moti’) with differing habitats and phenotypic characters were identified. Seven microecosystems (Kari, Badaila, Chammo, Karmol, Bhainsiki, Bhainsala and Khodailia) were found to support these varieties in differing proportions. Tinni rice can withstand more extreme weather conditions (the highest as well as lowest temperatures and rainfall regimes) than the ‘genetically improved’ varieties of rice (Oriza sativa L.) grown in the region. Both tinni varieties are important bioresources for the Bhar’s subsistence livelihoods, and they use distinctive conservation approaches in their maintenance. Bhar women are the main custodians of tinni rice agrobiodiversity, conserving tinni through an institution called Sajha. Democratic decision-making at meetings organized by village elders determines the market price of the tinni varieties. Overall, the indigenous institutions and women’s participation seem to have provided safeguards from excessive exploitation of tinni rice varieties. The maintenance of tinni through cultural knowledge and institutions serves as an example of the importance of locally maintained crop varieties in contributing to people’s resilience and food security in times of rapid social and environmental change.


Tinni Oryza rufipogon Bhar community Agricultural biodiversity Gender roles Traditional ecological knowledge Conservation 



We sincerely thank all of the Bhar community members, including village schoolteachers, extension workers, and other resource persons, who were integral part of this study and allowed us to learn with them during the course of 6 years. The authors are grateful to A. K. Sureja for constructive inputs to this article. The financial award obtained from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, India, for outstanding contribution in the field of indigenous technological knowledge in agriculture, through which this study was conducted, is deeply appreciated. Identification of plants by R. C. Srivastava, Botanical Survey of India, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ranjay K. Singh
    • 1
  • Nancy J. Turner
    • 2
  • C. B. Pandey
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Technology Evaluation and TransferCentral Soil Salinity Research InstituteKarnalIndia
  2. 2.School of Environmental StudiesUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  3. 3.Department of Soil and Crop ManagementCentral Soil Salinity Research InstituteKarnalIndia

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