Action Research On Sustainable Use Of Forest Resources

Action research on the use of forest resources will be conducted with selected JFMCs. The research will explore ways to sustainable use of forest resources such as timber and NTFPs, including medicinal herbs. The objective is to explore management regimes that enable the maximum utilization of the forest products without undermining the resource base or the related ecosystem. Several different management regimes will be designed for selected forest products, and experiment blocks will be established in the field to test the regimes with the participation of the local people. For instance, a given forest product will be collected according to the different regimes, and the impacts of each regime, such as changes in the resource base, will be monitored. The forest products to be studied may include medicinal herbs, rhododendrons, bamboos, junipers, branches, leaves, dead and fallen trees, and poles. Currently, commercial use of the state forest is basically banned, and the concept of sustainable management is lacking. However, on one hand, many rural people depend on forest resources. On the other, forest resources can be a good source of sustained income provided that they are managed sustainable manner. Moreover, they may be the only major option for income generation for many forest fringe communities. This subcomponent will test the feasibility of developing some of the forest resources that have commercial value into a source of income for rural people without undermining the ecosystem. The results from this experiment should inform the rationalization of regulations that govern forest use. The coordination between this action research and marketing study should be made so that there is no overlap in both TORs.

Approximately ten JFMCs that manage areas containing resources of high value and are willing to participate in these research initiatives will be selected by the Project. Areas where the issue of forest resource use is contentious, such as the sub-alpine and alpine areas, should be given preference. The concerned JFMC members will manage the resource in question according to the research design. This research is expected to be conducted with the researchers belonging to the academic institutions in Sikkim.