ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Village in the Midst of a Forest Ecosystem

Settled villages on the fringes of a national park earn their livelihood not only from collecting forest produce but also from agriculture within the forest ecosystem. However, this relationship between the settlers and the forest is constantly mediated by institutions such as the state and the market. The settlers have to contend with risks of rain-fed agriculture, depredations from wild animals, and also with the forest establishment, which is mostly hostile to cultivation. This article attempts to show the complex relationship between the forest and the people living in it.

This article is based on the author’s doctoral study underway at the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru. The author would like to thank Syed Ajmal Pasha, M V Nadkarni, R S Deshpande, M G Chandrakanth, B P Vani, and the anonymous reviewer for their valuable comments and research support.

Villages that survive in the periphery of a forest ecosystem are mostly dependent on the forest’s resources for their livelihood. However, the presence or absence of institutions like the state and market makes a big difference in the use and abuse of the available natural resources. Dangamala, one of the oldest surviving villages found in the periphery of the Bhitarkanika National Park forest in Kendrapara district of Odisha, depends on the forest for its survival. The strong presence of the forest department makes it difficult for the residents to use the forest resources for their survival. Yet, in spite of the forest department, the residents of this village continue to depend on the forest and its products for their day-to-day survival. This article tries to explore the relationship between a forest ecosystem and the livelihood complex of nearby residents, and the mutual dependency for their respective survival and sustenance in a national park in Odisha.

History of Bhitarkanika

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Updated On : 3rd May, 2018
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