Forest Consumption Pattern In Relation To Socio-Economic Arrangement Of People In Western Ramganga Watershed In Central Himalaya, India, Uttarakhand

Research Article
Himanshu Pandeya and Anil Kumar Yadava
Fuel wood, Fodder, NTFP, Socio- economical, Livestock, Central Himalaya.

Forest resources have historically played a significant role in the economy of the Uttarakhand since ancient times. This case study explored forest resource use pattern to understand villager’s dependency on forests in subtropical and temperate region, the study was carried out in two villages, one is the Farika Village at Masi-Chaukhutia, which lies at latitude 290 500 N and 790 160 E, between 1500-1650 m in Almora district, and another one is the Ramara village at Ghaniyal area, which lies 300 020 N and 790 140 E, between 2000-2100 m in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The average family size varied between 7.9 people per households in Ramara and 7.3 people per households in Farika village and similarly sex ratio ranged between 933 and 1036, respectively. Although the literacy rate in both villages above 65%, due to lack of employment opportunities people still invariably depend on forests for their livelihood. Agriculture is the fundamental occupation of those villages, simultaneously employment as labourers and NTFP collection were the main occupation of people in the study area. In those villages more than 75% of fodder and fuel- wood were extracted from the forest. Average fodder and fuel-wood consumed/household/day/kg were 30.02 to 38.31 and 13.26 to 23.34, respectively. A total of twelve and sixteen forest tree species were recorded to be used for variety of purposes by the villagers of both villages. Three major important trees species Chir (Pinus roxburghii) in lower elevation, oak (Quercus leucotrichophora) in mid altitude and Kharsu (Quercus semecarpifolia) in higher altitude consumed largely for fuel wood, fodder and cutting of grass for stall feeding in this area. Local people collect 3 to 5 kg lichens (Jhoola grass) a day and sold 100 to 130 per kg on local market. The pressure exerted by human and bovine population, coupled with unsustainable management policies, and has resulted in the destruction of forest cover and ecological degradation.