Training programmes for local communities

Training of local youth in bird, butterfly and moth identification

With the help of Title trust we have organised training programmes for about 15 youth of the villages on the identification of birds and butterflies. We plan to slowly expand this with further funding and try and develop well trained local guides in Nagaland who can guide birders and butterfly watchers and show them the many wonders of these forests. Currently, there are very few bird and butterfly guides in Nagaland and we hope that this activity will help generate ‘biodiversity-based livelihoods’ and enhance conservation in the area. These well-trained youth are now the custodians of the forests and biodiversity of the area.

Documentation of local biodiversity

In a unique initiative, the people of the villages especially the youth are themselves documenting the birds, butterflies, mammals, moths, herpetofauna and insects of the area. Armed with the latest field guides on these taxa, amazing pictures of fauna have been taken, including some species that do not match descriptions of existing fauna. The way the villages view conservation has changed. Village men and women now relay anecdotes of interesting sightings in jhum fields and forests where they work and the youth are urged to take pictures and keep a record. Interest in identifying birds and animals has increased. The village youth now keep a record of each sighting including the location and dates. And apart from common and scientific names, the local Sema name is also recorded. In addition, amateur naturalists, experienced bird guides, ecologists and those crazy over nature are visiting the area and keeping detailed field notes. This has now led to an exciting phase of the project, where ‘specials’ keep popping up. Apart from this seasonal bird and butterfly counts are being conducted on identified trails and recorded on e-bird and other groups such as butterflies and moths of India. The local communities are also now uploading their sightings to these groups.

Resilience training and community mobilisation and meetings

Resilience training workshops have been held with the men and women of the villages. In addition, meetings are held regularly with the gaon burrahs (the village heads) and the local communities, to get people on board for conservation. Because of the whole-hearted support of the people, hunting has been banned, along with fishing. In addition, each village conserves one or more patches of forest as a Community-Conserved Area (the CCA of Kivikhu village has been conserved for more than 100 years, since British times!) and adjoining CCAs are now linked to form a joint CCA. Importantly the people have formed a joint CCA network, the Tizu Valley Biodiversity Conservation and Livelihood Network, while each village has a community-conservation committee.

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