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Angul, Orissa
         
Agro-ecological Zone : Eastern Plateau (Chhotanagpur) and Eastern Ghats   Project Districts : Angul and Dhenkanal
River basin : Mahanadi and Brahmini   Mean Annual Rainfall : 1273 mm
Major Soil Types : Deep loamy, red and lateritic soils   Forest Types : Tropical dry and Moist Deciduous Forests, Bamboo brakes and Scrub Forests
Major Habitats : Forest, Wetland, Agricultural Lands and Riparian   Nearest Protected Area : Satkosia Tiger
Threatened Species : Tiger, Elephant, Gharial, Barringtoniaacutangula (Hinjal), Entadaphaseoloides (Gila)   Percentage of Common Lands including Forest : 50.50%
Percentage of People Living below Poverty Line : 61%   Percentage of Scheduled Castes/Tribes : 29%
Area under Protection : 23,529 ha   Village Institutions Associated With : 200
Total Households of Project Villages : 24,763   Indigenous Communities : Paudi Bhuyans, Juangs

Description

Angul and Dhenkanal districts are situated in the central part of Orissa, in the catchment of the Mahanadi and Brahmani rivers. The region is characterized by several streams and rivulets that drain into the two major rivers. The district is endowed with rich flora and fauna with the Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary figuring prominently in the landscape. The area is also rich in minerals and faces increasing pressures and threats to its ecological diversity from mining and industry. Recent industrial developments have added to the disparities between the rich and the poor, the picture of affluence in the cities set in stark contrast to the poverty of the villages.

Initiated in 1987, the project presently works with 200 community institutions that protect and govern nearly 23,529 hectares of common lands. Commons remain central to the livelihoods of rural communities in this undulating terrain; the forests in the uplands help to retains oil moisture and improve the nutrient flow, providing critical support for the subsistence agriculture practiced by rural communities in the lower reaches of the hills.

Tangible examples from the improved commons of a few villages have set off a series of positive responses from neighboring communities, which have, in emulation, begun protecting their own common resources. Our long-term engagement with local communities in the Athamallik area on their traditional system of protecting forests has helped 36 village institutions claim community rights over their forests under the Forest Rights Act. Initiatives taken earlier with the Panchayats in reintroducing regulation of open grazing of livestock are also increasingly finding acceptance, with the movement now spread to 35 villages.

Positive outcomes from our efforts to intertwine nature conservation with improvement of local livelihoods along the fringes of the Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary, have led to conceiving a larger conservation action plan for the area. In addition to information already gathered, we plan detailed ecological assessments of the area so as to monitor periodic changes in the ecosystem and the benefits they render. In tandem, we are developing the capacities of local youth, village institutions and Panchayats so they can chart a course of action and ensure better implementation of development programmes.

 

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