Traditional knowledge about landscape ecology


Traditional knowledge about landscape ecology

=Introduction= For most of the evolutionary history, human societies have been organized in hunting-gathering tribes each with its own exclusive territory. This territoriality persisted in one form or the other with all Indian casts until recent times (Gadgil 1987). Continually searching for the food man acquires the knowledge of the different landscapes surrounding him. Gadgil (1996a) suggests 5000 Km2 resource catchment area probably required during hunting – gathering mode of life. The resource catchment should sustain a band of about 50 – 60 people by hunting the animals and collecting edible plants. In this above said area, he might have identified different patches of landscapes and waterscape elements. As languages evolved, man gave different names to different land and waterscape elements and gathered very good deal of the knowledge about the same. To preserve the ecological wellbeing of the habitat and to extend his notion of the kinship and reciprocity he attached sacred values to the habitats.

=Material and Method=

tudy area

The study was performed among the tribal people of [Mendha Lekha= and fisher folks of Khursa village. First step in identifying the different places along Kathani was participatory mapping with local people supplemented by field survey. For the purpose of this study, waterscape element (WSE) is considered as the patch of different water types each distinct from the neighboring ones in its appearance, to which local people have given some generic names. Group discussions and individual interview schedules supplemented with field survey arranged with local knowledgeable individuals. About each waterscape element, following information from local people have been collected.

Folk nomenclature of different geological objects and ecological habitats Meaning of the particular patch and various geological objects questioned to local people

Range of Resource gathering

This is simply how long people go for fishing along the river.

People's interaction

People have different level of interactions with different WSE along the course of river. People’s interaction documented on following four point scales viz. 1 - Daily – Much, 2 – Medium, 3 – Occasional and 4 – Never

Value to local people

Value is an anthropocentric concept as it depends upon the perception or judgment of the human society about the usefulness of something. Due to different factors like distance of the WSE or quality of goods and services provided by the particular patch, people put different value to particular WSE. This value has been documented on following 3-point scale, 1 - Of great value, 2 - Of some value and 3 - Of no significance.

acred values attached

Earlier studies shown that many places in resource catchment are protected by local people by putting religious value over it for example, sacred groves and sacred ponds where resource extraction is banned or regulated by the set of rules (Chandran et al. 1998; Gokhale et al. 1998). A sacred value has been studied for the river Kathani.

Results and discussions

Along the river Kathani to different places, Dhivar people gave 18 different names whereas Gond people have 14 names. More names and wide range of the resource extraction by the Dhivar people suggests there more dependence on the Kathani River.Kathani River is flowing about 1 km north of Mendha and 0.75 km south of village Khursa. Different places of the river up ghat and down ghat named by people. 14 places to which Mendha people and 18 places to which Khursa people assign local name studied. Figure 9.1 describes different Waterscape elements along the river Kathani with reference to Mendha people and Khursa people and their relative position. Annex 9 and annex 10 shows different places and related information.

Folk nomenclature of different geological objects and ecological habitats

Local people have locally prevalent terms for many individual elements as well as generic terms for ecosystem or landscape element types. Table 9.3 depicts different names given and the local meaning of the same.

Folk system of nomenclature

Different names have been given to different geological objects in folk knowledge domain.

1 Soil: Gondi: Todi

2 Rock Gondi Kadka

3 Sandi soil=Gondi=Warvas

4 Loamy soil=Gondi=Chikan Todi

5 Top of the mountain = Gondi= Daman6Slope of the mountainGondiAjand7Places between 2 hillsGondiHima8High hillGondiMetta9Small hillGondiGudra10ForestMarathiJangal11ForestGondiGeda12Scrub landMarathiZudupi Jangal13Grass LandGondiJadi Geda14EcotoneGondiArmur15PlainGondiPalla16Scrub landGondiBos17Wet landGondiHoor18RiverGondiDoda19Bank of the riverMarathiDadi20StreamGondiKohoda21Water fallGondiBhomra22RunsMarathiDhar23RunsGondiKadka24RapidsMarathiDhar25PoolsMarathiDoh, Kund26PoolsGondiKundum, Kasa27Standing waterGondiBodi

Keen observations of the local names of the different places reveals that, considering following strategies names has been given to a particular place.

a. According to animal and plant habitatMany places along river are named based on the plant and animal species found in the particular habitat or particular place used by certain animal. For example Chich Doh (Tamarindus indicus), Chilati (A plant species, Acacia species), Wagh Doh (A place where tiger comes to drink water) Ajan Ghat (Ajan a plant species), Wad Doh (Ficus benghalensis) etc.

b. According to religious importance of the placeSome names are given based on local deity, for example Bhiman kundum (Bhima = Gondi deity), Dev Doh (A pool of god -Dev)), Dewor Kundi (A pool of god - Devur) etc.

c. According to the geography of the placeIn many instances, geography of the place is considered in naming the place. For example Lat Kasa, (a long (= lat) stretch of the river showing similar geographical structure).

d. According to historical significanceCertain names are given based on some important event happened on the particular place in the past. Malki or Patil Budi (In past a Patil (village head) drowned here), Ranin kund (A bathing place for a queen in the past), Lamni Warat (Once a Warat (marriage procession) was looted here).

e. On the basis of the use of the placeCertain places are named on a basis of the use of that place (Mostly in the past). Sindra (a place where a prostitute was inhabited), Pagari (Pagar = Salary, of something is distributed here in the past), Maren Konta (Agriculture is done on the bank of this place).

Range of resource gathering

Overall results are shown in the table in the annex 9 and 10. In short, it is observed that, as distance from the village increases the frequency of use decreases.

People’s interaction

It is found that, people’s interaction with a particular patch is depends upon two factors viz. distance and capacity of the particular habitat to provide resources. In former instance it is inversely proportional where as in later directly.

Value to local people

Overall results are shown in the table. It was observed that as distance from the village increases the value of that place to people decreases.

Distance Range from VillageValue of Importance1 to 2.5 km: Of great value2.5 to 4 km: Of some value4 to 5 km: Of no significance

acred values attached

At many places some social taboos are found to be attached which regulates the use of that habitats for resource extraction. Devur Kundi, Dev doh and Wadadin are the places along Kathani where fishing is not allowed.

=Conclusion=From above discussion, it is clear that in the folk knowledge domain there is found good deal of knowledge about landscape of surrounding. Being the forest dwellers Gond people has a very logical knowledge system of the landscape ecology. People found well aware about different habitats and various geological objects surrounding them. These can be seen in the naming pattern, to each type of habitat (Both land and water) people have some kind of terminology. Khursa people are traditional fisherman and for subsistence depend upon river Kathani. They also have good deal of the knowledge about riverine habitat. There range of the fishing is more than the Gond people and have more names to various places than Gond. Many places are prohibited along the river from utilization of resource by attaching sacred values and creating various religious taboos. These preserved freshwater habitats works as refuges for the fishes. Now a day, these belief systems are liquidating as new generation increasingly alienating from the nature.It was also found that new generation greatly alienating from the traditional knowledge about different natural objects. New generation can identify few places than old ones.

=References=Heda N. (2007):Some Studies on Ecology and Diversity of Fresh Water Fishes in the Two Rivers of Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra (India). A Thesis submitted to Sant Gadgebaba Amravati University, Maharashtra (India).


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