AGRO-BIODIVERSITY, FOOD SECURITY, and CLIMATE CHANGE:
Document rich agricultural heritage of India
India flaunts a vibrant cultural heritage that is discernible from enormous diversity in a multitude of crops, be it cereals, or vegetable, or fruits, spices, legumes. Diverse agro-climatic condition coupled with high ethnic diversity shaped the wide spectrum of this diversity. An attempt to document and characterize the agrobiodiversity is an initial step to gain an understanding of the general pattern.
Wild under-utilized food
A handful of plants meet up the dietary demands of the entire human population of the world. Whilst uncultivated and wild edible food is still an important source of nutrition for a large fraction of rural and semi-urban societies across cultures and continents. But, being heavily affected by several over-arching forces such as the market economy, loss of knowledge systems, agricultural intensification, the culture is eroding rapidly.
Despite an unprecedented diversity of wild edible plants in India, comprehensive studies are absent to describe the general pattern, e.g., which are families overrepresented in the list? What are the taxa used frequently? Whereas most of the studies have explored the taxonomic diversity of plant taxa in usage, the part used, and the method of processing before consumption.
The science of traditional wisdom towards sustainable agriculture
Traditional agro-ecological wisdom has contributed to the generation, conservation, and maintenance of agro-biodiversity, engineered variously hostile landscape, (semi-) domesticated more food flora than actually documented. We attempt to uncover the close relationship between various cultural practice in agriculture and its implication in sustainability.
BIO-CULTURAL DIVERSITY and SUSTAINABILITY
Heterogeneous landscape and community association
Landscape, composed of variable components with multiple utilities is considered as heterogeneous and is a predominant feature in the terrestrial ecosystem. Apart from tangible benefits like food, fodder, timber, minor products, and water several other non-tangible activities like pollination and dispersal service, life-cycle maintenance, soil fertility, etc., can be accounted from these areas. The land use pattern and its consequences are very much dependent on communities associated with the landscape. Factors like land use plan, maintenance, and market demand have a crucial role in landscape structure. We are interested to study heterogeneous landscape pattern in eastern India, their role in regional biodiversity maintenance and impact assessment of human-mediated activities.
Sacred forest patches and sacred trees:
The religious connection in human-nature relationship dates back to the pre-historic period. Sacred grove and sacred trees are such manifestations where forest or part of the forest and single tree are venerated by communities as a representative of god and are protected from exploitation. Today grove has been considered as a center for local level biodiversity, provider for ecosystem services and socio-cultural identity for rural communities and the landscape. Similarly, sacred trees by their magnitude of presence and antiquity support a plethora of ecological functions and act as a valuable component of any landscape. Our interest lies in ecological and ecosystem functions from sacred groves, their functional and landscape level importance.
Oral tradition and resource management
Oral tradition is the living repertoire of various knowledge systems. If human memory is the storehouse of that knowledge, then human body actively put that knowledge into practice. Thus, the oral tradition plays a pivotal role in connecting human body with the human mind. Communities have retained the wisdom of the ancestors through this tradition and passed the ever-growing body of knowledge to the next generation using the same method of oral transmission. The indigenous communities, throughout the world, have managed to sustain successfully their resources with the help of the oral tradition. Oral tradition and the resource management are intrinsically related to the daily chores of life. Our aim is to unravel the knowledge that is lying underneath the everyday life in the form of oral tradition.
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