GUWAHATI, Sept 29 - A conference on preserving biodiversity and livelihood through traditional agroforestry in the North East was held recently in the conference hall of Bosco Reach Out under the joint auspices of Bosco Reach Out and GIZ, Germany. This was stated in a press release.
Different stakeholders from various government departments and organisations from the North East took active part in the conference.
Dr J�erg Lohmann, Project Manager GIZ, FOR IKI-Project presented �Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service in Agrarian Landscape � an issue of capacity building for better understanding and firm commitment.� He introduced the projects of GIZ Germany implemented in various countries including the North East.
Dr Peter Gross, Project Director, India, presented his opinion on landscape management and biodiversity conservation through rotational agroforestry. He explained the agricultural development and industrialisation that happen in Germany and the North East India. He said the people of the North East help in conserving forest cover while engaging in traditional jhum practices. He said jhum cultivation helps in rotation practices which provide the coordination required during the various stages involved in this system of cultivation.
Agroforestry can be incorporated to meet the economic demands of the family. Terrace can be incorporated to meet the economy. There are many practices that can be incorporated to help in sustainability of the people. He stated, �Jhum must be recognised as a practice based on a scientific and sound ecological principle that addresses livelihood and ecological concerns.� He further said that burning of forest involved in jhum cultivation is not harmful; rather, the ashes are good for crops. Burning is needed for certain life cycles of plants.
Dr Dipak K Chetri, Joint Director Agriculture, Nagaland, spoke on �Jhum optimisation in Nagaland; SARS experience�. He made a presentation on the present situation of improved jhum practice in Nagaland, different land forms in Nagaland, good practices of jhum and subsequent changes in practice, jhum intensification and on how to make jhum sustainable in Nagaland. He explained the various types of jhum cycle practised in his State in a productive manner. He mentioned the different trial practices for soil conservation.
Fr Sebastian, Associate Director, BRO spoke on the role of an NGO in preserving biodiversity and livelihood through traditional agroforestry in the North East. He referred to Bosco Reach Out�s approaches to sustainability of traditional agroforestry for livelihood in North Garo Hills district in Meghalaya through community approach and technological transfer.
AM Singh, PCCF, Government of Assam, spoke on the need to change the mindset of the people to make developmental changes in their lives. He said Assam has enough species, but not much importance has been given to preserve and conserve them. He introduced the participants to the Biodiversity Act 2002. Creating awareness of stakeholders is very important. Mindsets need to be changed from the top bureaucrats to the common people, he added.
Dr Lukose PJ, head, Social Work, ADBU spoke on the gender role and traditional agroforestry of the North East. He threw light on the new approaches in jhum cultivation. He underscored the importance of the homestead agroforestry system to meet farmers� basic needs.
Dr Bhogtoram Mawroh, NESFAS, Shillong, talked about the importance of local biodiversity for food and nutrition security.
Bastian Tschuschke, master scholar, research intern at GIZ, Aizawl, spoke on �Jhum at the Crossroad of Rural Development in Mizoram�. He mentioned that major drivers for decrease in agro-diversity in Mizoram are low production and productivity of traditional crops, modernisation, life style change, climate change and land forms.
During the panel discussion held on the occasion, AK Johari underscored the importance of local natural resource registration. Ranjan Baruah, environmentalist, also said that participation of the people is very important in developmental activity. Government should seek the participation of the common people while taking decisions, he said.
Dr Papaya Dutta from USTM mentioned the importance of conserving biodiversity. Carmo, Bethany Society, Shillong presented the activities of their organisation in conserving biodiversity through a video show.
D Dhanpal, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, KVIC (NEZ) talked about creating awareness among the people on the importance of biodiversity in view of increasing volume of population.