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Biodiversity Conservation in Upper Tanawal

An Up Graded Model of Joint Forest Management with “Integration” of Indigenous Biodiversity Conservation in Upper Tanawal
Funded by    World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Goal of the Project
An up graded model of Joint Forest Management with “integration” of indigenous biodiversity conservation in upper Tanawal NWFP Pakistan.
In 1994, Joint Forest Management (JFM) was launched at Fateh Bandi and afterwards replicated at other areas of NWFP. This experiment has changed the history of forest management and for the first time issues like fuel wood, fodder, timber extraction and to some extent medicinal plants collection were considered at community level by the state.  Haashar after its inception initiated a holistic and integrated activities and programme in the JFM areas. While the JFM approach and concept was dissected critically,following gray areas appeared too prominent.
  • In JFM approach and concept wildlife conservation, ethnobotany and agricultural biodiversity conservation were not catered. Neither data collection nor execution of JFM plan addresses such pivotal issues.
  • The communities were organized, trained and linked with departments and institutions related to forestry. The major testimony was this that NWFP Wildlife department in general and Mansehra Wildlife division is particular was unaware about the JFMC and vice versa.
The JFM rules though are comprehensive, but none of the section addresses any of the biodiversity components except forest management. The new forest policy and rules 2002 shows a very bleak picture for the biodiversity conservation in general and, wildlife conservation, ethnobotany and agricultural biodiversity conservation in particular
After identifying such gaps, in February 2002, a proposal for setting a model for the integration of biodiversity conservation into the JFM concept was initiated after its acceptance by Scientific Committee of WWF – Pakistan. The project was initiated in the area of Upper Tanawal. Fateh Bandi was selected as the potential project site. Fateh Bandi is located within close proximity of Agror-Tanawal protected forest, sustaining heavy usage pressure of local communities. It is comprised upon seven compartments. The entire mouza is further sub-divided into 12 hamlets. This selection was made in view of the considerations like forest homogeneity, vegetation, wildlife availability and stakeholders’ recommendations.
After the project onset the available literature was reviewed and complied jointly by HAASHAR staff and consultant hired to make biodiversity conservation plan on top of JFM plan on the basis of biodiversity survey. Data collected by NWFP Wildlife Department, Forest Department, by Siran Forest Development project and by other agencies was used as a basis to initiate surveys in the area.
Objective 1:   
Institutionalization of community organizations/groups at local level for biodiversity conservation 
Activities under taken to achieve objective 1:
1.1     Interfacing of the project concept with local communities:For the wider acceptance of project theme at local level following major activities were carried out including;
  • Capacity building of the project staff at project inception.
  • Mass awareness drives through, indiviual meeting, group meeting.
  • Participatory training and awareness workshops on the issues of (i) JFM system, (ii) wildlife and plants conservation, (iii) Environmental Awareness (iv) Indigenous Knowledge and its Use for biodiversity conservation and (v) Agriculture biodiversity.
  • Development of biodiversity conservation plan and
  • Linkages with respective stakeholders.
1.2    Identification of active groups/ village activists:
Literature review and field interaction assisted Haashar to identify overall characteristics of the project area. Subsequent orientation sessions further helped to identify active groups and activists in the project area, which is divided into upper and lower Mouzas. The project concept revolves around plants and animals.  Medicinal plant collectors, fuelwood collectors, fodder collectors, farmers, middle men market men were included in groups related to plant biodiversity and hunters, illicit forest cutters, poultry farmers were included in group related to fauna. After identifying major groups further inculcation of the project concept was made as per target group.
1.3    Institutionalization of village organization:
JFMC and community were mobilized and reactivated for the overall project approach. A number of post project initiatives including regular forest patrolling, actions against the illicit timber cutters and ban over all types of hunting whereas womenfolk of Fateh Bandi established a woman committee, started savings on monthly basis and have opened a bank account. Haashar’s Social Organizer has played a pivotal role in organizing women and local community has showed full trust and confidence.
Contacts were made with the line departments and related institutions and they were briefed about overall project at local and regional level.  Finally an environment of joint working and collaboration was facilitated which finally resulted into a tripartite partnership.
1.4    Scheduled meeting of village organizations:
At times of WWF- Haashar agreement, considerable degree of irregularity existed in JFMC’s monthly management meetings, mainly due to poor interest of the community and Forest Department. Though the situation has not improved to a satisfactory level but there has been a significant improvement.
Objective 2:
To develop village based biodiversity conservation action plan and JFMC to undertake activities related to biodiversity conservation
Activities undertaken to achieve objective 2:
2.1    Overview of the Wildlife and ethnobotanical and other survey
Upper Tanawal valley is a moist temperate region of NWFP and is very rich in floristic composition. Altogether 79 species of plants belonging to 48families have been recorded as ethnobotanicaly important. The locals used these plants for variety of purposes, like medicinal, fodder, food, shelter, ornamental etc. for each species possible, information regarding Latin binomial, synonyms, local names(s), use(s) was collected.
Tanawal flora shows affinities to one phyto-geographic realm. The wide altitudinal range in Tanawal supports a great diversity of plant communities, including deciduous, coniferous and mixed temperate forests; sub-alpine scrub and wet alpine meadows, fast flowing streams and waterfalls. Rarities include threatened West Himalayan Elm Ulmuswallichiana a tree species of potential economic importance and Thymus species. Achilleamillefolium, Geranium wallichianum, Rheum webbianum, Aconitum heterophyllum and Dioscoreaceaedeltoide are acclaimed vulnerable species whereas, Juglansregia(locally endangered) and Taxuswallichiana are among the endangered plants list
One of the main attractions of project area is faunal diversity and outstanding landscape. In order to confirm wildlife species in the area meetings were held with officials of relevant Govt. departments, hunters and members of local community. Based on the information provided, survey of the potential habitats was conducted, supporting important wildlife species. Seven compartments and the entire Mouza were surveyed according to the prescribed objectives. Survey equipment like binoculars, field book and still camera was used.  Direct and indirect observations were made to confirm the presence of species in the area. During the detailed fauna survey it was found that Forests (Doga 1 to Doga 7) of Fateh Bandi which is a subpart of Upper Tanawal is the habitat of globally important pheasant species like Koklass(Pucrasiamacrolopha) and Khalej (Lophuraleucomelana) however, presence of Monal(Lophophorusimpejanus) was not confirmed during the field survey. Other birds like Chukor, black partridge and many other species are found in the area. Among large animal’s common leopard (Pantherapardus), Wild Boar (Susscrofa), Cape Hare (Lupus capensis), Hedge Hog and Himalayan palm civet (pagumalarvata) are found in the area whereas Himalayan Rhesus monkey, jackals, foxes and many other are common in the area. Hunting, both by natives and outsiders, continues throughout the year. Pheasants are the most targeted victims including Koklass andKhaeej.
The area also possesses rich agricultural biodiversity with 7 types of indigenous pulses, 3 types of  barley species,  20 types of fruit plants, 3  types of cotton( Khuddar) 5 types of  vegetables,  3 types of Rice,  3 verities of  Wheat , 3 verities of   Maize , 3 types of  Goat, 1 variety of  Sheep,  2 variety  of Buffalow and one type of  mule and donkey respectively.
2.2    Elaboration of biodiversity conservation plan at local level:
For elaboration of biodiversity conservation plan a number of activities were performed which include followings:
I.    Interaction with community of study area.
ii.    Review of all available literature.
iii.    Collection of required or missing information.
iv.    Land use, socio-economic, ethnobotanical, wildlife and agricultural surveys.
v.    Introductory meeting with the relative departments and awareness campaigns at community level.
vi.    Capacity building of the target communities for the biodiversity conservation.
vii.    Training workshops at village level.
viii. Institutionalization of community institutions.
ix.    Elaboration of biodiversity conservation plan at area and village levels.
x.    Joint Agreement between wildlife department and Biodiversity Conservation Committee (JFMC) 
xi. Initiation of biodiversity conservation activities
2.3    Finalization/Approval of biodiversity conservation plan:
After gathering all the required information a formal involvement of NWFP Wildlife Department for the wildlife conservation was made by appraising them about the latest situation of especially about wildlife and its related threats. Wildlife Department started interaction with the local community of the Fateh Bandi, jointly developed Biodiversity Conservation Plan on the basis of which terms of partnership were developed and finally become partners of JFMC through an agreement.  Haashar collected some data earlier by conducting a numbers of surveys and workshops. Finally all the major components of Biodiversity i.e. Forests, Wildlife and agriculture were part of Biodiversity Conservation Plan.
2.4    Execution of biodiversity conservation plan:
Community has initiated some steps in this regard, like increased and hyperactive forest patrolling leading towards better protection. After having a better realization for wildlife, JFMC has become vigilant observers towards any potential offenders. At the time of Biodiversity Conservation Plan preparation there were some remarkable initiatives were initiated from the corner of Wildlife Department. The residents of Fateh Bandi were designated as biodiversity watchers. They were provided with the Fine (Challan) Books to book any of the external of internal poacher. All legal and institutional support by wildlife Department was assured to stop any of the illegal activity.
For the conservation of agricultural biodiversity community has agreed to multiply the indigenous seed and to initiate activities of green farming. The JFMC has approached poultry farmers to stop throwing away dead chicken. Likewise the people of Fateh Bandi have agreed to collectively dump all   household waste at safe area.
Objective 3
Human resource development (HRD) of the community.
Activities under taken to achieve objective 3:
3.1    Identify, liaise and collaborate with various institutions, project, individuals’ etc for HRD activities:
NWFP Wildlife department assisted Haashar in capacity building of community of Fateh Bandi.  However different people hired by the Haashar contributed to this objective by holding workshops, collecting different data, elaborating Biodiversity Conservation Plan and executing activities of Biodiversity Conservation Plan.
3.2    Assess training need of the locals to prepare training approach, qualify participants of training for the Implementation of training Program along with the training institutes to supplement biodiversity conservation program:
The identified training program comprised following main categories
i.    Social institutionalization
ii.    Sustainable harvest of medicinal plants
iii.    Cultivation and propagation of the of the medicinal plants 
iv.    Marketing of medicinal plants
v.    Wildlife conservation
vi.    Wildlife survey
vii.    Safe disposal of waste
viii.    Marketing of the wildlife products (at later stages of the Biodiversity Conservation Plan, at times when project area produces different game animals and birds substationally on sustainable basis and,
ix.    Sustainable agriculture
3.3    Provide support to Village organization to develop and implement village-based projects in line with “felt needs” identified in the fields of NRM, and biodiversity conservation:
Training in each of above mentioned categories was provided to the community by the project.
Objective 4
Safeguard information and networking with the masses of people in the project area and with other organizations/persons for increased ecological, social and political awareness and complementary interventions for biodiversity conservation program
Activities under taken to achieve objective 4
4.1    Provide support and training to village organizations to develop project proposals and implement village based projects in line with “felt needs” identified in the fields of NRM, and biodiversity conservation.
Natural Resource Management Plan of Fateh Bandi 
The Joint Forest Management Committee was trained for the record keeping, maintaining their minute’s update and making resolutions.   A team of Forest Management Center was fully assisted by the community for the development of NRM Plan for Mouza Fateh Bandi but its execution will be project dependent.  However the ongoing Forestry Sector Project did not included Fateh Bandi for the forthcoming Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP).
Fateh Bandi is the first area in the entire NWFP where all kind of natural resources have a management plan namely.
  • The forest and village areas have been catered through the Joint Forest Management Plan and Land Use management Plan.
  • All agriculture, Wildlife and d plants have been catered though the Biodiversity Conservation Plan.    
4.2    Secure linkages and contacts with donor and other institutions.
The formation of Biodiversity Conservation committee has led community of Fateh Bandi to have profound relations and interactions with stakeholders. Likewise Biodiversity Conservation Plan and other developmental initiatives have assisted people of Fateh Bandi to build partnership with new stakeholders.
4.3    Facilitate and prepare terms of partnership between community and partner organization.
Community has already formal partnership with Forest Department; new partnership with Wildlife Department (Annex- G) is concluded whereas more partnerships are expected in future.  
4.4    Elaborate articles/ news for press releases at local, provincial and federal level on quarterly basis
There were no specific news originated by the Haashar for the said matter but there are many events that were published in the newspapers and Haashar participated in those events. On the other hand community itself has publicly raised this issue and local newspapers covered this issue .
4.5    Keep close contact with the institutions and persons involved in the ongoing process of devolution of power
Fateh Bandi is the only area in the Upper Tanawal having a very strong representation in the union council and members of the Joint Forest Management Committees are members of the union councils as well. The situation especially helped to take action against timber Mafia and considerable decrease is visible during current times. It is expected that poaching and ruthless hunting will also decrease gradually with involvementof community.
4.6 a:    Take proactive steps to identify other institutions and projects for securing synergy effects and for diversifying NGO activities on the basis of experience gained.
Meetings and coordination with all NGOs and other institutions are taking place periodically about the programme and the project.