Environmental Management

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 187–204

Paisang (Quercus griffithii): A Keystone Tree Species in Sustainable Agroecosystem Management and Livelihoods in Arunachal Pradesh, India

  • Ranjay K. Singh
  • Anshuman Singh
  • Stephen T. Garnett
  • Kerstin K. Zander
  • Lobsang
  • Darge Tsering
Article

Abstract

In a study of the traditional livelihoods of 12 Monpa and Brokpa villages in Arunachal Pradesh, India using social–ecological and participatory rural appraisal techniques, we found that the forest tree species paisang (Quercus griffithii, a species of oak) is vital to agroecosystem sustainability. Paisang trees are conserved both by individuals and through community governance, because their leaves play a crucial role in sustaining 11 traditional cropping systems of the Monpa peoples. An Indigenous institution, Chhopa, regulates access to paisang leaves, ensuring that the relationship between paisang and traditional field crop species within Monpa agroecosystems is sustainable. The Monpa farmers also exchange leaves and agricultural products for yak-based foods produced by the transhumant Brokpa, who are primarily yak herders. Yak herds also graze in paisang groves during winter. These practices have enabled the conservation of about 33 landraces, yak breeds, and a number of wild plants. Paisang thus emerged as a culturally important keystone species in the cultures and livelihoods of both Monpa and Brokpa. Ecological and conservation knowledge and ethics about paisang vary with gender, social systems, and altitudes. Labor shortages, however, have already caused some changes to the ways in which paisang leaves are used and yak grazing patterns are also changing in the face of changes in attitude among local landowners. Given new competing interests, incentives schemes are now needed to conserve the ecologically sustainable traditional livelihoods.

Keywords

Agrobiodiversity Indigenous communities Paisang dry leaves Rainfed agroecosystems Traditional ecological knowledge 

Supplementary material

267_2014_383_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 kb)

References

  1. Anderson EN (2011) Ethnobiology and agro-ecology. In: Anderson EN, Pearsall DM, Hunn ES, Turner NJ (eds) Ethnobiology. Wiley Blackwell, A John Wiley & Sons INC, Pub. New Jersey, pp 305–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. APHDR (2006) Arunachal Pradesh Human Development Report 2005. Department of Planning, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India, pp 76–80Google Scholar
  3. Armitage DR (2003) Traditional agroecological knowledge, adaptive management and the socio-politics of conservation in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Environ Conserv 30(1):79–90Google Scholar
  4. Balemie K, Singh RK (2012) Conservation of socio-culturally important local crop biodiversity in the Oromia region of Ethiopia: a case study. Environ Manag. doi:10.1007/s00267-012-9883-9 Google Scholar
  5. Berkes F, Colding J, Folke C (2000) Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecol Appl 10:1251–1262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berkes F, Colding J, Folke C (2003) Navigating social–ecological systems: building resilience for complexity and change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Brook RK, McLachlan SM (2008) Trends and prospects for local knowledge in ecological and conservation research and monitoring. Biodivers Conserv. 17:3501–3512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown GM (1990) Valuing genetic resources. In: Orians GH, Brown GM, Kunin WE, Swierzbinski JE (eds) Preservation and valuation of biological resources. University of Washington Press, Seattle, pp 203–226Google Scholar
  9. Chambers R (1994) The origins and practice of participatory rural appraisal. World Dev. 22:953–969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. CSIR (2003) Quercus griffithii (Hook f. Thoms). In: CSIR (ed) The wealth of India: Raw materials (VIII (Ph–Re), CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), New Delhi, pp. 348–349Google Scholar
  11. DFPD (2013) What is the Targeted Public Distribution System? What are the various entitlements being given under the scheme? The Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Government of India. http://dfpd.nic.in/?q=node/999. Accessed 24 June 2014
  12. Di Falco S, Chavas J-P (2006) Crop genetic diversity, farm productivity, and the management of environmental risk in rain-fed agriculture. Eur Rev Agric Econ 33:289–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Engel S, Pagiola S, Wunder S (2008) Designing payments for environmental services in theory and practice: an overview of the issues. Ecol Econ 65:663–674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ferraro PJ, Kiss A (2002) Direct payments to conserve biodiversity. Science 298:1718–1719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Folke C (2004) Traditional knowledge in social–ecological systems. Ecol Soc 9:7Google Scholar
  16. Folke C (2006) Resilience: the emergence of a perspective for social–ecological systems analyses. Glob Environ Change 16:253–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gadgil M, Berkes F, Folke C (1993) Indigenous knowledge for biodiversity conservation. Ambio 22:151–156Google Scholar
  18. Gunderson L, Holling CS (2002) Panarchy: understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  19. Heisey PW, Smale M, Byerlee D, Souza E (1997) Wheat rusts and the costs of genetic diversity in the Punjab of Pakistan. Am J Agric Econ 79:726–737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Huntington HP (2000) Using traditional ecological knowledge in science: methods and applications. Ecography (Cop) 10:1270–1274Google Scholar
  21. Laird S (2002) Biodiversity and traditional knowledge: equitable partnership in practice. Earthscan Publication, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Maffi L (2010) What is biocultural diversity? In: Maffi L, Woodely E (eds) Biocultural diversity conservation: a global sourcebook. Earthscan, London, pp 3–9Google Scholar
  23. Mibang T, Chaudhuri SK (2004) Folk culture and oral literature from northeast India. Mittal Publications, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  24. Mishra A, Singh RK, Ngachan SV, Singh R, Tarat RK (2011) Enormity of indigenous knowledge systems for livelihood security in north eastern region. ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, UmiamGoogle Scholar
  25. Moller H, Berkes F, Lyver POB, Kislalioglu M (2004) Combining science and traditional ecological knowledge: monitoring populations for co-management. Ecol Soc 9(3):2Google Scholar
  26. Morse JM (2004) Sampling in qualitative research. In: Lewis-Beck MS, Bryman A, Liao TM (eds) The SAGE Encyclopedias of Social Science Research, vol 1. SAGE Publication, LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. Myer N, Muttermeier RA, Muttermeier CA, da Fornseca GAB, Kent J (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403:853–858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. OKDISCD (2012) Baseline survey of minority concentrated districts. Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development: Guwahati. http://www.icssr.org/ExecutiveSummaryDarrang.pdf. Accessed 18 May 2012
  29. Olson P, Folke C (2001) Local ecological knowledge and institutional dynamics for ecosystem management: a study of lake Racken watershed, Sweden. Ecosystems 4:85–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pagiola S (2008) Payments for environmental services in Costa Rica. Ecol Econ 65:712–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pagiola S, Rios A, Arcenas A (2008) Can the poor participate in payments for environmental services? Lessons from the silvopastoral project in Nicaragua. Environ Dev Econ 13(3):299–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pretty JN (2003) Social capital and the collective management of resources. Science 302:1912–1914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rahman MZ (2010) Dams on the Brahmaputra: Concerns in northeast India. Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi. http://www.ipcs.org/article/india/dams-on-the-brahmaputra-concerns-in-northeast-india-3245.html. Accessed 17 Sep 2014
  34. Ramakrishnan PS (1992) Shifting agriculture and sustainable development of North-Eastern India, UNESCO-MAB Series, Paris, Parthenon Publ. Carnforth, (republished by Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1993), p. 424Google Scholar
  35. Ramakrishnan PS (1994) The jhum agroecosystem in North-Eastern India: a case study of the biological management of soils in a shifting agricultural system. In: Woomer PL, Swift MJ (eds) The management of tropical soil biology and fertility. TSBF & Wiley-Sayce Pub, Chichester, pp 189–207Google Scholar
  36. Ramakrishnan PS (1998) Ecology, economics and ethics: some key issues relevant to natural resource management in developing countries. Int J Soc Econ. 25 (2/3/4):207–225Google Scholar
  37. Ramakrishnan PS (2005) Mountain biodiversity, land use dynamics and traditional ecological knowledge. In: Huber UM, Bugmann HKM, Resoner MA (eds) Global change and mountain regions: an overview of current knowledge. Springer, The Netherlands, pp 551–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ramakrishnan PS (2007) Sustainable mountain development: the Himalayan tragedy. Curr Sci 92(3):308–316Google Scholar
  39. Ramakrishnan PS, Das AK, Saxena KG (1996) Conserving biodiversity for sustainable development. Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, 1996, p. 246Google Scholar
  40. Ruiz-Mallén I, Corbera E (2013) Community-based conservation and traditional ecological knowledge: implications for social–ecological resilience. Ecol Soc. 18(4):12Google Scholar
  41. Sharma E, Sharma R, Pradhan M (1998) Ecology of Himalayan alder (Alnus nepalensis D. Don). Proc Indian Natl Sci Acad. B64, 1:59–78Google Scholar
  42. Singh RK (2004) Conserving diversity and culture: Pem Dolma. Honey Bee 15(3):12–13Google Scholar
  43. Singh RK (2012). Changing climate, evolving yak breeds. Honey Bee 22(4) & 23(1):8Google Scholar
  44. Singh RK, Adi W (2010) Biocultural knowledge systems of tribes of eastern Himalayas. NISACIR, CSIR, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  45. Singh RK, Community Brokpa (2009) Indigenous knowledge of yak breeding management by Brokpa Community in eastern Himalaya. Indian J Trad Knowl. 8(4):495–501Google Scholar
  46. Singh RK, Sureja AK (2006) Community knowledge and sustainable natural resources management: learning from Monpa tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. T.D: J Transd Res South Africa 2(1):73–102Google Scholar
  47. Singh RK, Singh D, Sureja AK (2006) Community knowledge and biodiversity conservation by Monpa tribe. Indian J Trad Knowl. 5(4):513–518Google Scholar
  48. Singh RK, Pandey CB, Bhoumik SN, Pandey CB (2011a) Biocultural diversity, climate change and livelihood security of the Adi community: grassroots conservators of eastern Himalaya, Arunachal Pradesh. Indian J Trad Knowl 10(1):39–56Google Scholar
  49. Singh RK, Turner NJ, Pandey CB (2011b) ‘Tinni’ rice (Oryza rufipogon Griff.) production: an integrated socio-cultural agro-ecosystem in eastern Uttar Pradesh of India. Environ Manag 49:26–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Singh A, Singh RK, Bhardwaj R, Singh AK (2012) Adaptation of culturally and nutritionally important traditional foods in eastern Himalaya. Indian J Trad Knowl. 11(4):623–633Google Scholar
  51. Singh RK, Rallen O, Padung E (2013a) Elderly Adi women of Arunachal Pradesh: ‘Living encyclopaedias’ and cultural refugia in biodiversity conservation of the eastern Himalaya, India. Environ Manag 52(3):712–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Singh RK, Srivastava RC, Pandey CB, Singh A (2013b) Tribal institutions and conservation of the bioculturally valuable ‘tasat’ (Arenga obtusifolia) tree in the eastern Himalaya. J Environ Plan Manag. doi:10.1080/09640568.2013.847821
  53. Smale M, Drucker AG (2007) Managing crop and livestock biodiversity in developing economies: a review of the economics literature. In: Kontoleon A, Pascual U, Swanson T (eds) Biodiversity economics: principles, methods and applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 623–648Google Scholar
  54. The Arunachal Times (2012) International Day against dams observed. The Arunachal Times, ITANAGAR, 14 Mar, 2012. http://www.arunachaltimes.in/mar1215.html. Accessed 16 June 2014
  55. The Hindu (2010) Steep decline in yak population in India. The Hindu, ITANAGAR, December 24, 2010. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/article974144.ece. Accessed 16 June 2014
  56. The Telegraph (2009) Meet on yaks in Arunachal. The Telegraph, Calcutta, India, Thursday, April 16, 2009Google Scholar
  57. The Third Pole (2013) Arunachal farmers vow to oppose Brahmaputra dams. http://www.thethirdpole.net/arunachal-farmers-vow-to-oppose-brahmaputra-dams/. The Third Pole, 25th September 2013. Accessed 18 Aug 2014
  58. Ticktin T, Johns T (2002) Chinanteco management of Aechmea magdalenae: implications for the use of TEK and TRM in management plans. Econ Bot. 56:117–191Google Scholar
  59. Turner NJ, Clifton H (2009) “It’s so different today”: climate change and indigenous lifeways in British Columbia, Canada. Glob Environ Change 19:180–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Turner NJ, Davidson-Hunt IJ, O’Flaherty M (2003) Living on the edge: ecological and cultural edges as sources of diversity for social–ecological resilience. Hum Ecol 31(3):439–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ranjay K. Singh
    • 1
    • 6
  • Anshuman Singh
    • 6
  • Stephen T. Garnett
    • 2
  • Kerstin K. Zander
    • 3
  • Lobsang
    • 4
  • Darge Tsering
    • 5
  1. 1.College of Horticulture & ForestryCentral Agricultural UniversityPasighatIndia
  2. 2.Research Institute for the Environment and LivelihoodsCharles Darwin UniversityCasuarinaAustralia
  3. 3.The Northern InstituteCharles Darwin UniversityCasuarinaAustralia
  4. 4.Gaon BurhaWest KamengIndia
  5. 5.Gaon BurhaWest KamengIndia
  6. 6.Central Soil Salinity Research InstituteKarnalIndia

Personalised recommendations