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Pratapgarh, Rajasthan
         
Agro-ecological Zone : Central Highlands, Vindhyan and Satpura range, Western Malwa Plateau   Project Districts : Pratapgarh and Mandsaur
River basin : Jhakham, Erav of Mahi, Siwna and Gir of Chambal   Mean Annual Rainfall : 850 mm
Major Soil Types : Black, yellow with sandy and loamy   Forest Types : Tropical Dry Deciduous and Grass Lands
Major Habitats : Forest, Grassland, Gorges and Sacred Groves   Percentage of Common Lands including Forest : 60%
Nearest Protected Area : Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary   Threatened Species : Rusty-spotted Cat, Four-horned Antelope, Lesser Florican, Fat-tailed Gecko
Percentage of People Living below Poverty Line : 65%   Percentage of Scheduled Castes/Tribes : 69%
Area under Protection : 1,615 ha   Village Institutions Associated With : 63
Total Households of Project Villages : 4,671   Indigenous Communities : Bhil, Meena

Description

Pratapgarh, a newly carved-out district of Rajasthan, is located where the Aravalli mountain ranges meet the Malwa Plateau and displays a unique combination of the characteristics of both. The biodiversity-rich Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary is set in the western part of the district. Our activities are centered in the catchment area of the Siwna and Gir, tributaries of the River Chambal, and the Jhakham and Erav tributaries of the River Mahi.

About 45% of the district is under forestland. With Meena tribals predominating in the population, the area falls under Schedule V category of the Constitution. 65% of the local population are poor and fall below the poverty line. Common lands (grazing and forest) comprise a major portion of the landscape, with habitations and villages scattered in between. However, a number of factors, such as unfavourable tenure arrangements, weakening protection and management systems, overgrazing, and illegal tree felling, together have contributed to the degradation of the land over the years.

Working in the region since 2005, we are associated with 63 village institutions that protect 1,615 hectares of common lands and degraded forestlands. A receptive community realising the importance of tenurial arrangements and collective systems for the management of common and forestlands and institutional arrangements such as Village Forest Committees, Charagah Vikas Samitis, etc., seized the opportunities, and the efforts have rapidly spread in a short period of less than four years.

Based on preliminary geo-hydrology and biodiversity studies, measures to conserve soil and water, and improve vegetation on common lands, have paid off in terms of improved biomass and enhanced availability of water. Gaining from the improved ecology, communities have, on their part, revived and strengthened traditional systems of protection, and devised equitable water sharing arrangements. We continue to dialogue with these communities on the need to develop a long-term perspective for revitalizing the nutrient and hydrological regime of the landscape, and building resilience into their farming systems.

With formal agreements prepared for protection of forestlands under Joint Forest Management schemes, we plan to implement watershed development programmes on about 12,000 hectares and, taking advantage of opportunities provided by NREGA, to undertake further eco-restoration measures.

We encourage communities to envision a landscape of sustainable ecosystems and habitats, and evolve strategies to make that vision a reality. To this end, we underline the importance of developing an information base of the various ecological aspects of the area, building a cadre of local stewards who will spell out a development agenda for the region, and steering the multiple players in the field in the right direction.

 

 

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