We work with rural, resource-constrained communities, farmers with marginal and small landholdings, and those dependent on forests for their day-to-day living. Our three decades of experience working with agrarianattests to interventions aimed at integrated management of natural resourcesbeing the foundation for boosting sustainable food production and productivity, as they improve the overall ago-ecological environment for production, reduce risks for agri-producers, and ensure availability of key agri-inputs naturally, driving down production costs including those to the environment.
The thrust of IGS's efforts, thus, is on building resilience of communities as well as of the ecosystem. Particularly for the rural poor and those living in and around forests, a livelihood promotion strategy based on Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM) works well as compared to the one focusing purely on agriculture because of nature, extent and quality of natural resources accessible and available to them, and their inherent resource affinities and management capabilities. Most of our work is in the dryland regions of the country where land degradation, depletion of biodiversity, groundwater levels, climate change effect in recent years and high chemical ridden farming practices have severely stressed soil, water and ecosystems. A dual reinforced approach to build and strengthen, rather than severe the natural resource linkages of the poor has potential to rejuvenate natural resources while also strengthening local livelihoodsystems with inclusion of appropriate technology, providing farmers with more choices, a sustainable scale of production, consumption and reliable incomes.
Our INRM initiatives adopt a two fold approach, focusing on community wellbeing and natural resource rejuvenation. Community mobilization around natural resources is more about (re)igniting the people-nature connect, empowering them to deploy indigenous sense and sensibilities in tending to the nature's bounty and integrate modern knowledge and skills to address tenuous challenges, and working with diverse stakeholders to ensure usufruct rights and tenurial security of local communities over natural resources. Natural resource rejuvenation approach involves putting available natural resources and their interconnections in focus, prioritizes 'restoration' and 'revival' of energy and resource flowsas in the natural course, and seeks to deploy a mix of Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) and modern technology to achieve this.
We have also deployed the principles and practices of integrated natural resource management for promoting rural livelihoods in locations with the potential to promote community-based ecotourism. These interventions seek to create a win-win situation in terms of livelihoods of the poor and eco-sustainability of the area.
Another context for intervening to strengthen natural resource based livelihoods is provided by relocation of forest dwellers by the State Forest Departments from the core zone of Protected Areas to revenue lands. This is usually done with the aim to reduce human-animal conflicts, to ensure safety of humans and wildlife, and to keep critical wildlife habitats inviolate. In the last 10-15 years, altogether approximately 60,000 households have been shifted out of protected areas. The National Tiger ConservationAuthority estimates that there are 754 villages present in the core/critical tiger habitats, out of which 180 villages have been voluntarily rehabilitated and 574 villages remain to be relocated. This provides both-a challenge and an opportunity for forest administrators, socio-technical agencies like IGS, and community leaders together to ensure a win-win for the community and as well as for wildlife conservation efforts.
IGS is currently implementing 10 projects under INRM in Assam, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.These programs leveraged the capabilities of and benefited 12,215 households in 2018-19.
Several cost-effective and environmentally beneficial modelshave resulted from these efforts, which can be easily replicated to improve the resilience of communities in similar contexts and other locations:
IGS is interested to work with diverse stakeholders - community institutions, corporates, government, NGOs, researchers and research institutes, innovators, and technology service providers, for:
For more information on IGS's program on Promoting Natural Resource Based Livelihoods, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org