Regenerate resources to increase access

Natural resources are becoming scarce mainly due to population growth, consumeristic life styles etc.  Majority of the population in the third world do not have access to even primary needs like water, food, cloth and housing.  However, population is not the only reason for resource scarcity but the lack of knowledge about using them.  For instance, during late seventies, I was collecting a few herbs in my area to sell them to a crude drugs dealer in Bangalore.  One day when I was digging ‘Aswagandha’ for roots an old lady who was collecting dry branches for fuel advised me not to dig all of them but to leave a few plants to grow and shed seeds for regeneration.  It is then that I thought about the importance of preservation and regeneration of species, so that we get them regularly. So it is very important that not only availability, but also management of any commodity carefully and efficiently.

During the British rule the arecanut growers were authorized to collect dry leaves from 9 acres of forest for mulching and manuring one acre of arecanut plantation. However, as enough attention was not given for regeneration of new trees, most of these assigned forest lands popularly known as “SOPPINA BETTA” in Shimoga and North Kanara districts of Karnataka have become barren lands now.

Similarly ground water has been exploited to grow sugar cane, cotton, tobacco for export, causing serious water problem not only for agriculture, but also for drinking water purposes.  Now it is very important to educate people to use techniques to recharge the bore-wells and rainwater harvesting.

Due to repeated droughts, fodder has become scarce.  Due to negligence, many old trees like Banyan and pipal have been felled either to broaden the roads or to build houses and factories, rural population have no other means of getting fodder from only cultivation of fodder crops. It is very important that more and more crops are raised for fodder, green manure, food and fuel etc., to face the drought situations.

In the name of false economical reasons, many of our traditional practices of collecting and utilisation of natural resources have been neglected, which have to be revived. Most of the community lands like dried up tanks, canal beds, burial grounds etc., could have been allotted to the landless and the poor rural communities to raise nurseries and grow some food crops so that they can get some economical support during drought years.  When I think of our irrigation canal beds which runs into a few million kilometers in Karnataka State only are kept barren.  If these canal beds were planted with green manure trees, fodder trees, and grass, fruit trees, could have provided employment and food for atleast 10 million poor people.

Any country could be economically strong only when its soils are healthy and productive. It is not only information technology and bio-technology that makes a country stronger. But its rich bio-diversity, strong and healthy people and rich productive soils are the indicators of a healthy nation.

In Madhya Pradesh, villagers have beautiful system of sharing only fully grown trees for fuel and timber from the forest.  All the residents of these cluster villages have to make a request to the committee about their requirement of fuel and timber.  The committee will decide the quantity available and the need of the villagers.  A nominal charge is collected by the beneficiaries which will be spent to plant seedlings at the same place, where they cut old trees, and also some small worships they offer before cutting trees.

With the new forest policies of the government and building new dams for irrigation and power projects and also while installing new power transmission lines vast areas of thick forests have been destroyed and huge tribal populations have been displaced, in many cases even without rehabilitation.  Many state governments have formed corporations to process and market forest products and also employed outsiders who do not know the situation in the area.  So it is better to form tribal co-operatives to collect, process and market the produce by themselves.  The officials, however, may help them in training, financial matters and providing support for marketing, so that they can live happily at their habitats peacefully.  Similarly bio-diversity conservation job could be assigned to the rural folks, so that they get employment in the rural areas and also more efficiently than an graduate official, who lacks indigenous or traditional knowledge of the local breeds and the situations.  Seed collection is another important profession, which can employ even the old women who have  knowledge than any learned personnel.  Inspite of our huge population still, we have many opportunities to access natural resources, provided we have a concern for their regeneration.


Mr. L. Narayana Reddy


Via Maralenanahalli

Doddaballapura Taluk

Hanabe – 561 203

Ph : (C : 080) 7651360



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