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FairWild certification: An approach for linking biodiversity conservation with sustainable livelihoods in the northern Western Ghats, India

Sarnaik, Jayant and Bride, Ian G. and Godbole, Archana and Sardeshpande, Mallika and Hiremath, Umesh and Giri, Yogesh (2017) FairWild certification: An approach for linking biodiversity conservation with sustainable livelihoods in the northern Western Ghats, India. In: Sustainable livelihoods in socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes. Satoyama Thematic Review . United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Tokyo, pp. 90-101. ISBN 978-92-808-4579-2. E-ISBN 978-92-808-4574-7.

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Biodiversity conservation is a key global sustainability issue. Land use change due to expansion of agriculture, tourism, and development projects is contributing to loss of habitat and species at an alarming rate. Moreover, indiscriminate logging of forests for immediate monetary need is further degrading forests and habitats. This is particularly true for biodiversity areas and ecosystems in the forest landscapes of northern Western Ghats - a global biodiversity hotspot. The situation is exacerbated by a sparse protected area network, the predominantly community ownership of large tracts of biodiversity rich forests, a lack of awareness on the importance of biodiversity in human well-being, and low economic returns from sustainable utilization of biodiversity. Sacred groves - traditionally managed old growth forest fragments that exist in good numbers across the region – offer some hope for the conservation of threatened plants and animals. Yet these areas are facing the consequences of the loss of faith in tradition among the local community. There is thus a growing threat to the ecological integrity of landscape, together with a need to develop a strategy that fulfils monetary expectations of local communities whilst ensuring conservation of key biodiversity areas. With this in mind, AERF implemented the international FairWild certification scheme for the sustainable collection of non-timber forest products from community managed forests in the North Western Ghats. FairWild articulates stringent protocols and requirements with respect to biodiversity conservation, sustainable harvesting methods, monetary benefits to resource owners, ownership of and access to target resources, and the equitable sharing of benefits.

Terminalia bellirica and Terminalia chebula were the selected target species based on established demand for their fruits in traditional medicines in India and abroad, the potential for sustainable harvesting, the opportunity for improving economic returns, and the associated conservation benefits. AERF conducted a resource assessment of the trees, cost-benefit analyses and a social feasibility study to understand the potential of this certification scheme. Twenty-five villages were selected for a resource assessment of T. bellirica, while the assessment of T. chebula was carried out in four villages from Sangameshwar and Bhimashankar. Selecting collectors and conducting trainings to build their capacity in sustainable collection and processing of fruits were necessary parts of compliance for FairWild certification. Successful implementation of FairWild certification has provided direct economic benefits to 100 households while protecting up to 600 large trees of Terminalia bellirica and nearly 1,000 old trees of Terminalia chebula in the North Western Ghats.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Biodiversity conservation; FairWild certification; Sustainable livelihoods
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Human Ecology
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Ian Bride
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2019 10:47 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2019 16:53 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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