Ecology in Community Conservation

Species coexist under different relationships like competition, predation, parasitism, symbiosis, commensalism, and mutualism. Although humans are a part of this relationship, they have been able to control nature because of their intelligence. In the light of the above, community- conserved biological diversity has three important functions (Figure 13.2): 1) ecological functions that maintain soil fertility and conserve water, leading to synchronized utilization of natural resources; 2) economic functions include food, fuel, fodder, timber, fiber, and medicine that contribute to local incomes both on-farm and off-farm; and 3) socio-functions that lead to diversity in resource use, tenures (private or public property), and social customs. Such relationships have a major impact on the demography of the region,

Functional role of biodiversity of a system

FIGURE 13.2 Functional role of biodiversity of a system.

political system, and social customs that are reflected in cultural diversity. Long-term sustainability of a species or diversity of species in a system depends upon the level of synergy among these three functions.151

However, the economic function of a system assumes a vital role, since transactions among various social groups are determined by economics. The synergy of the above system is lost when there is a reduction in the economic function. A reduction in the local economy leads to direct negative environmental impacts that further reduce local biodiversity. It is within this context that institutions can contribute to biodiversity conservation.

Natural Resource Management: The Role of Communities

Although initial conservation at the species level largely excluded human activity, the establishment of national parks (Figure 13.3) entailed some amount of inclusion of the human element. The evolution of the concept of the biosphere at the level of the landscape considers humans and their activities as part of nature. Such conservation efforts at the landscape level undertaken in the recent past have proved to be far more effective and sustainable.161

In general, biosphere reserves act as havens for endangered animals and plants with a core zone in the center surrounded by buffer and transition zones. Traditional communities live in the core zone, and the buffer zone depends on forest resources such as wild food, minor forest products, and traditional agriculture. The buffer zone and the core zones are restricted in access to nonlocal people. The buffer zone withstands changes from inner core and the outer transition zones. The transition zone is sandwiched between the human modified modern industrial world and the buffer zone. It is this zone that assumes importance with regard to community conservation of crop genetic resources.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >