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Nagaland village gets biodiversity award

Jorhat, May 22: In yet another pat to Nagaland for its conservation efforts, a village in the neighbouring state has been awarded the India Biodiversity Award this year.

The award — Rs 1 lakh in cash and a citation — was announced at Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar Island today on the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity.

M. Lokeswara Rao, the principal chief conservator of forests and head of the forest force of Nagaland, told The Telegraph that the joint forest management committee of Old Jalukie village in Peren district was selected for the award under the co-management category recognising outstanding efforts by the government-supported community institutions.

The India Biodiversity Awards, instituted by the ministry of environment and forests and the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), recognise the outstanding models of biodiversity governance and the central role played by the communities that are at the heart of any effort to conserve biodiversity.

The Nagaland forest department had nominated the joint forest management committee of Old Jalukie village for the award.

The Old Jalukie community biodiversity reserve was locally declared by a village council resolution way back in 1986 and later the council signed an MoU for managing the reserve under the joint forest management with the Nagaland forest department on June 15, 2012.

Rao, while congratulating the villagers of Old Jalukie, said good practices implemented by the Old Jalukie joint forest management committee was a good model and had set an example to other community conserve areas in the state to follow such practices for conservation of nature.

He said almost all the villages in Nagaland had community conservation areas since time immemorial.

“Community conservation management by communities is a unique model in Nagaland and seeing the importance of forests, villagers are conserving and preserving community forest areas since time immemorial,” Rao said.

The India Biodiversity Awards received 150 nominations from across the country. The seven-member jury, chaired by M. S. Swaminathan, arrived at a shortlist of 13.

Subsequently, desk review was followed by on-site visits to assess these individual models based on parameters, including effectiveness of biodiversity conservation, benefits to local communities and institutional sustainability.

Nagaland was praised for the state’s effort in conservation and protection of Amur falcons last year.

Amur Falcons, the migratory birds, which arrive at Nagaland every year, were well protected by the villagers last year, with no reports of a single bird being killed. Till a few years back, there were reports of large number of birds being killed in the state. Three birds were also fitted with satellite tracking devices.