What’s at Stake? Livelihoods
As Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of India said “Unless we are in a position to provide for those that live in and around our forests we cannot prevent them from poaching or despoiling our vegetation.”
The pressure to preserve wildlands and wildlife is often lost in the priority for people to simply survive.
Creating conservation based livelihoods and sustainable enterprises that do not place a burden – or ideally add conservation based value – to wildlife and wilderness preservation, can provide the alternative livelihoods to that of extraction and exploitation of these same resources for many rural communities.
However it needs to be well planned and executed. Already many tiger reserves and sanctuaries are supporting tens of thousands of new livelihoods, both direct and indirectly through nature based services, and changing the behaviour and attitudes to the protection of their wildlife and wilderness areas. Much more needs to be done, and with better mutually beneficial partnerships and smarter long term planning to get the most out of these new rural economies.
See our latest TOFTigers reports here on the value of nature based enterprises to local communities, including their livelihoods, new businesses and health and educational benefits.