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Appraisal of coexistence and interdependence of forest and tribes in Jhargram District of West Bengal, India using SWOT–AHP analysis

Abstract

Since time immemorial, forests and tribes have shown a close symbiotic relationship. Tribal communities have designed their livelihood strategies in accordance with the quantity and quality of forest ecosystem services. The indigenous human communities settled in the tropical dry deciduous forest of Jhargram District of West Bengal also exhibit similar multidimensional interactions with the forest ecology. But with the introduction of the market economy since the Colonial time has resulted in deforestation, de-speciation, and degradation. This put forth a question of sustenance and conventional living styles of these groups of people. This is further expected to be altered under the present combination of forest species. The present endeavor strives to assess the patterns of coexistence and interdependency between the forest and the tribes in the tropical dry deciduous forest tract of Jhargram District, with the help of SWOT–AHP analysis. The internal Strength (S) and Weaknesses (W) as well as the external Threats (T) and Opportunities (O) of the prevailing interaction framework have been identified through in-depth field visits and direct discussion with the stakeholders. Further, an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) has been employed to ascertain the strategies for improvement of the subtle linkages between forests and tribes. The forces effective upon forest-tribe coexistence and traditional ecological knowledge of the indigenous forest people have been proved to be beneficial for livelihood strategies in the selected area, while selective restrictions need to arrest the major weaknesses and threats for the sustainability of forest-people coexistence.

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Source Sahoo, 2020

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Source Landsat 8, 2018 and Census 2011

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Source Census (2011)

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Data availability

The datasets of this study are available from the corresponding author through questionnaires of the informants from the field survey at reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

Authors express their sincere gratitude to the tribal people of Jhargram forest for their assistance in providing information, and also to those who participated in the research by sharing their knowledge, hospitality and assistance in fieldwork.

Funding

No financial aids from any persons/organizations have been received by any of the authors for the present study.

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Contributions

All authors have contributed to the conceptualization of ideas and research design. Data collection and analysis on the mutual coexistence and interdependence of forest and tribal communities was carried out by all the mentioned researchers under the supervision of Dr. GS. The first draft of the manuscript was written by KPS and all the authors commented on earlier versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Krishna Pada Sahoo.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Interviewees were informed of the research objectives and full informed consent was obtained from all the individual participants involved in the study. Relevant institutional ethics followed the protocol, and personal information was considered confidential.

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Sahoo, K.P., Roy, A., Mandal, M.H. et al. Appraisal of coexistence and interdependence of forest and tribes in Jhargram District of West Bengal, India using SWOT–AHP analysis. GeoJournal (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-022-10696-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-022-10696-3

Keywords

  • Forest
  • Tribes
  • Forest–tribe coexistence
  • Forest–tribe interdependence
  • Forest ecosystem services
  • SWOT–AHP