Study reveals migration of Adivasi has increased from forests; even the forest cover was not altered

              A recent study by a group of researchers has revealed that the migration of tribals from the forested parts of eastern Gujarat has increased, even from those places, where the forest cover was not altered.


            The study said a section of tribal youths has reduced their dependence on the forests and prefer migrating to the cities. The research was carried out by experts in social sciences and scientific studies and conducted with the help of the Gujarat state and the Centre.


            The findings were made public at a national workshop entitled “Changing behaviour of forests and its impact on the livelihood of tribals in eastern Gujarat”, organized by the Vadodara-based think tank, Centre for Culture and Development (CCD).

            The findings showed that from areas where the forest cover remained unchanged since 1971 to 2001, migration doubled to 37.69 %.


            “It appears that in recent times, the tribals are not as dependent for their livelihood entirely on the forests or forest products. They also depend on alternative sources of livelihood such as dairy farming, horticulture, and agriculture.”


            This observation has to be seen in light of the continued alienation of tribals from the forests that had no way out except migrating seasonally, temporarily and permanently in search of livelihood,” the researchers said. The study was conducted with the help of satellite imagery and census reports provided by the state and the Centre.


            The study further showed disparity between the census data from 1971 and 2001 and satellite imagery data from the years 1972, 1990 and 2007. “According to the 1971 census, there was 9.89 % forest cover of the total study area (eastern Gujarat) and the same had increased to 11.75 % in the 2001 census.  As per the latest Working Plan (of the state government), the forest area cover in Gujarat is 11.83 %.  The 1972 satellite imagery shows 21.33 % area under forest cover compared to 17.17 % in 2000.


            The 1990 imagery shows 14 %, while the 2007 imagery shows 16.18 % forest cover of the total study area, the findings revealed.


            The experts headed by the director of CCD, Dr Lancey Lobo further said that forest area decreased by 1 % in anticipation of claims on land to be made under the Forest Rights Act of 2006 between the period 2000 and 2007.


News Source: Indianexpress, 14 January 2010

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