Anthropogenic Approach to Conservation
Conservation efforts have often brought supporters of ‘Wildlife-First’ and those who favour ‘People-First’ at loggerheads. However, over the years, conservationists have slowly realised that successful conservation cannot be implemented without the active participation of the local communities.
The future of forest conservation lies in ensuring the future of local communities. Over the generations, they have been an integral part of the forest ecosystem. So, their participation in forest conservation is vital.
For effective forest-conservation efforts (meaning reduced wildlife conflict, no extractive jobs, reduced fire/ hunting/ cattle-grazing) the anthropogenic approach matters. In anthropogenic approach the local community is an active participant in conservation activities.
In Tadoba, for example, involving and hand-holding the local communities over the last ten years has slowly resulted in better protection of the forests. The past strained relationship between the Forest Department and local communities, has seen a gradual change of turning into a partnership.
For the local communities to participate in forest conservation, Ran Mangli is identifying the gap between the employment avenues and skill deficiencies. It is bridging the gap and being a partner in forest conservation.