Forgot your login information? Chapter The Chipko and Appiko Movements. Hegde, P. The chipko and appiko movements. Noronha Eds. Hegde, Pandurang.
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RSS Feed. The Context This is an introductory report of an ecological movement going on in the Western Ghat region of Karnataka. An attempt is made to present the movement in a historical context. This report draws upon the experience of local people. The whole Western Ghat belt forms the catchment area of important rivers of South India.
The forests of this region are known as tropical forests, which bring rain by intercepting monsoon winds. Amidst the green hills, there are small patches of cultivable land.
The area is famous for black-pepper, cardamom, arecanut Supari , coffee and banana. The forests have proved to be the perennial source of water to the region and have also made possible continuous supply of green manure. The total self-reliant life style of people has thus remained integrated with nature.
It lies in the midst of the Western Ghat belt of the Sahyadri range. The district used to be the southern most part of the erstwhile Bombay State and it was regarded as one of the most backward districts. It became part of the new State of Mysore following the formation of linguistic states in November now known as Karnataka. There has been considerable development of the district since then and especially during the past two decades.
The district now ranks fifth among the 19 districts of the state on the socio-economic ladder. The percapita income of the district was RS. The population of the district, according to census, is 10 Iakhs, the fourth lowest in the state.
The density of population is l04sq. It is predominantly a rural district having only three towns with a population of about 50, While urban poverty in the area is very high, rural poverty is very low. According to one study Thimmaiah , the percentage of people below poverty line among the rural population of the district was The percentage of literacy according to census is 48 for the district, and it ranks fourth in the state in terms of literacy.
Male and female literacy rates are 57 and 38 respectively. In terms of male and female literacy rates also, the district retains its high rank. The main occupation is agriculture. The net area sown as percentage to total geographical area is Even without any irrigation facilities the district ranks fifth highest in rice production Rice is the staple diet of people.
The district also stands as the third highest in the state in the production of banana 5. The average size of operational holding is 1. In terms of average yield of food grains kgs. Topographically the district is divided into the coastal belt and the hill section. There are, in all, eleven Talukas tehsils of which five are in the coastal belt and the remaining six are in the hilly areas of Sahyadri range.
The district was aptly called the "Forest District. The annual average rainfall is mms. Out of its total forest area, Protected Forests include 6. Village Forests occupy 0. The revenue earned by exploiting forest resource in was RS. There was a harmonious relationship between people and nature for a long time which was disturbed by the British rule. The forest was a community asset belonging to the people in the villages.
The British, with a view to acquire control over this resource, took away the community right over forests. This resulted in people's revolt. One of the earliest movements against forest takeover was in which continued till This was popularly known as "Royta Kootas" Farmers' Meet.
The European soldiers were brought from far off plains of Bijapur to crush this revolt. After a century in , the people started a movement, "Jungle Satyagraha" to oppose the oppressive forest policy of the British government.
This movement opposed the British forest policy, which was based on exploring forest wealth to meet the ever increasing demand of growing cities and industries, thus ignoring the interest of rural people. From onwards the British exploited forests in this area to grow plantations of teak.
Even after independence the forest policy remained unchanged. The main thrust of the policy was to destroy tropical forests by raising monoculture plantations of teak and eucalyptus. Thus the commercial exploitation of forests continued even after independence under the name of "Scientific Management". The removal of mixed species of forests has caused irreversible damage to the eco-system. The poorest group of people staying amidst forest have been the worst sufferers of this policy of so-called scientific management of forest resources.
The destruction of natural forest in the catchment areas of rivers and hill slopes has also led to the high rate of soil erosion. Due to the removal of tree cover, sunrays hit the top soil which gets loosened and is washed off in the rainy season. Thereafter the ground becomes hard like brick. This process is known as laterisation. The natural regeneration is affected adversely, and the area 'is converted into a barren land with laterite rocks.
There is a definite co-relation between the disappearance of wild life and the removal of mixed forests. Putta Gowda, an 80 year old man from Kabbe village said, "About 60 years back I have seen here wild elephants in herds.
Bisons were common till 20 years back. There were tigers, deer and wild dogs, wild goats, wolves and a variety of birds. This is all history. Now we have only wild pigs, rabbits and monkeys". Putta Pakir Siddi of Mundige Jaddi said; "Now wild pigs have increased because the wild dogs which ate wild pigs have disappeared.
There is no other animal which eats wild pigs. Many species of wild life are now extinct. The monoculture plantation is not a proper habitat for wild life.
The recent invasion of epitorium weed is also a major cause affecting the natural habitat of wild life. The erratic rains have affected the agricultural yield. They have caused soil erosion leading to silting of tanks and dams, eventually affecting irrigation pattern.
The scarcity of perennial water resources has affected the garden crop of cardamom and areca nut. The availability of green leaves for manure has decreased. The plantation of teak and eucalyptus has left the fields dry. Farmers are now unable to sow the fields in time. The cattle do not get enough fodder. While mixed forests contained varieties of trees and herbs of medicinal quality, they have now become extinct, and there is no local medicinal base.
The honey trees are cut down by WIMCO, a multinational enterprise for matchwood, and by the plywood factories. Uttara Kannada was known for its black pepper. Now this major cash crop is wiped out totally by a new and unknown root disease. The whole self-reliant life style of the people is now threatened due to the damage caused to eco-systems.
The rate of soil erosion has increased greatly in recent times causing flash floods. The hydro-electric darns have been affected by silting. Clearing of catchment areas of rivers has led to drying up of rivers in summer months.
The forest cover is not so dense as to attract cloud. This has led to erratic rainfall in the whole Deccan plateau and also the Western Ghats. After independence the Indian government continued the colonial forest policy of commercial exploitation of tropical forests. In addition to this, new developmental schemes were introduced in the region which aggravated the already worsening forest cover.
Uttar Kannada district, with 81 per cent of its geographical area under forests was categorized as a 'backward' district.
Development of industries, it was assumed, would remove this back-wardness. Major forest-based industries like paper mill and plywood factories were established. To exploit the water resources, a series of hydro-electric dams were constructed submerging large tracts of forest and agricultural land.
The displaced people from these submerged areas were rehabilitated in new habitat by felling virgin forests in catchment areas of rivers. These major development schemes made an adverse impact on the ecosystem. They consumed a large area of natural forests in a short span of time, resulting in the reduction of forest cover in the district from 81 per cent in to 25 per cent in The cumulative effect of these developmental schemes was devastating.
The rainfall pattern changed drastically, adversely affecting the rain fed agricultural economy, by reducing the crop- yields. The natural springs and streams dried up.
Appiko Movement (India)
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Indian villagers hug trees (Appiko) to stop deforestation in Karnataka, 1983-1990
The famous Chipko Andolan Hug the Trees Movement of Uttarakhand in the Himalayas inspired the villagers of the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka Province in southern India to launch a similar movement to save their forests. In September , men, women and children of Salkani "hugged the trees" in Kalase forest. The local term for "hugging" in Kannada is appiko. Appiko Andolan gave birth to a new awareness all over southern India. In , Uttara Kannada district forest covered more than 81 percent of its geographical area. The government, declaring this forest district a "backward" area, then initiated the process of "development".