Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment - Chapter 10: Traditional ecological knowledge towards natural resource management: perspective and challenges in North East India

Elsevier, Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment, 2023, Pages 275-294
Ashmita Das, Nihal Gujre, Rajkumari Jobina Devi, Latha Rangan, Sudip Mitra

Sustainable utilization of bioresources is a global concern, as it plays a vital part in the economic upliftment and overall socioeconomic development of a region. Western scientific approaches related to natural resource management (NRM) mainly focus on economic benefits, showing less concern toward sustainable and long-term natural resource usage. On the contrary, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), or adaptive empirical knowledge system, is the source of knowledge about ecosystems, species, a practice held by the indigenous community whose way of life intimately relates to natural resources. Considered as a biodiversity hotspot of the world, the North East (NE) part of India is mainly inhabited by different indigenous communities. These indigenous communities mostly believe in animistic religious systems that influence their way of living, natural resources, and conservation practices. However, under the rapidly changing scenario, there is an indispensable need to document, analyze, and protect TEK and practices of the tribal communities of NE region of India. Therefore, the present study attempts to explore, analyze, and demonstrate the different traditional methods practiced by indigenous communities of the NE India, in context to NRM. It also explores various aspects of TEK and practices like indigenous farming and irrigation systems, conservation of sacred forests, age-old ethnobotanical knowledge, and cultural customs and rituals of different tribes of NE India.