Challenging Biocultural Homogenization: Experiences of the Chipko and Appiko Movements in India

  • Pandurang Hegde
  • George James
Part of the Ecology and Ethics book series (ECET, volume 3)


In the 1970s, a peasant movement to save forests in the Western Himalayas of India drew international attention. The Chipko movement, as it was called, also had a decisive impact on other grassroots environmental movements. One of them, the Appiko movement, began in a small district in India’s Western Ghats with the protest of local people against the state government’s policy of clear-cutting natural, indigenous forests to establish monocultures of such high-revenue species such as eucalyptus and teak. Like Chipko, the Appiko movement was committed to traditional ecological management and to village sustainability. Its activism like that of Chipko was against developmental policies that homogenized the local sustainable economy within a larger centralized economy. This chapter shows that the habits and habitat of local people of the hill regions of the Western Himalayas and the Western Ghats are embedded in local indigenous knowledge systems based on holistic understandings of its ecology. For them, forests are not just a one-dimensional resource to be exploited for the benefit of commerce. They are multidimensional and ethical and take care of the needs of human and non-human actors encompassing all life forms.


Chipko Appiko Traditional ecological knowledge Ecosystems Non-violence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pandurang Hegde
    • 1
  • George James
    • 2
  1. 1.Appiko-Chipko Movement, SirsiNorth KanaraIndia
  2. 2.Department of Philosophy and ReligionUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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