Community knowledge and sustainable natural resources management: learning from the Monpa of Arunachal Pradesh

07 January 2011

Community knowledge and local institutions play a significant role in sustainable comanagement, use and conservation of natural resources. Looking to the importance of these resources, a project, funded by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Ahmedabad, India was implemented to document the community knowledge associated with agriculture and natural resources in few selected Monpa tribe dominating villages of West Kameng and Tawang Districts of Arunachal Pradesh, India. Dynamics of various indigenous practices, gender role, culture and informal rural social institutions, cultural edges significantly contribute in managing and using the natural resources sustainably. Experiential learning and location specific knowledge play a pivotal role in ecosystem sustainability. Study also indicates the synergistic relation existing between local knowledge and ecological edges, thereby helping in sustaining livelihood in high altitude. Indigenous resource management systems are not mere traditions but adaptive responses that have evolved over time.