‘Scientists should learn from tribals’

KOLKATA, 21 MAY: A transdisciplinary study with the indigenous practices of the tribals in forest management is the need of the hour, said Prof PS Ramakrishnan of the school of environmental sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, today at a seminar organised by the West Bengal Biodiversity Board to commemorate the International Biodiversity Day, 2011 at the Ramakrishna Mission, Golpark today.
“He said that primitive tribes are the custodian of the landscapes. By imposing modern knowledge on the communities would be destroying whatever little biodiversity may be left,” said Prof Ramakrishnan renowned for his researches in the primitive tribal groups of the northeastern states of the country. He said that according to Anthropolical Survey of India more 250 to 500 tribes live in the forests and that constitutes about 20 per cent of the entire population of the country. “These people have a lot of traditional knowledge which we so-called scientists should learn from them,” he added.
The communities are now being driven to extreme living conditions with external pressures such as indiscriminate timber feeling which is not only inferring with their natural habitat but also sounding a death bell for their socio-cultural set-up. He sited the example of the tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, Apatanis, who have maintained forests and sacred groves without any help from the forest department and have also found a unique way of converting domestic waste into manures to be used for agricultural practices.
Stressing on the need for forest management, he said that a researchers have found that children who have some exposure to forests are psychologically better than children who are brought up amidst concrete structures.

Soma basu

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