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Community Conserved Areas: Odisha and Madhya Pradesh- Directory

Dec 14, 2012

The Directory provides an overview of community-led conservation efforts in two states of India – Odisha and Madhya Pradesh. It captures the diverse and often innovative approaches adopted by communities to conserve ecosystems and species.

Sacred groves, mountains, rivers, trees, birds and animals – the diverse array of India’s biological diversity has benefited greatly from the untiring efforts of rural communities across the country. Conserved by communities as a way of life, these biodiversity rich areas, typically called community conserved areas, are central to India’s biological heritage. It is well known that every community effort to protect India’s biodiversity contributes significantly to and supports the government’s mandate on conservation.

However, we are yet to appropriately recognize this indispensable role of rural communities in biodiversity conservation. Erosion of traditional values, knowledge and competing land-use claims are some of the challenges that rural communities are negotiating with, in order to continue their conservation traditions. A major challenge in supporting and scaling up community-based conservation initiatives in India have been their relative invisibility, scattered presence, and a lack of a comprehensive inventory of the good practices. Documenting community conserved areas is therefore, a first step in this direction.

The Directory has been developed as part of a UNDP partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the governments of Odisha and Madhya Pradesh. UNDP’s new Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework, The Future We Want: Biodiversity and Ecosystems – Driving Sustainable Development emphasizes the need to unlock the potential of protected areas, including indigenous and community conserved areas, to conserve biodiversity while contributing towards sustainable development.

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