Alternative Sustainable Livelihood in the village of Dulki in Sunderban Tiger Reserve in order to reduce anthropogenic pressure on the Forest

Alternative livelihood generation for the villagers living below poverty level in the Sunderban Tiger Reserve in order to reduce biotic pressure on the forest.

The Sunderbans is the largest deltaic region of the world which extends through India to Bangladesh covering a total area of 26,000 sq kms which has the single largest unit of mangrove population. Two-thirds of the Sunderbans falls in Bangladesh and in India it consists of 9630 sq km out of which the Reserve Forest occupies nearly 4263 sq kms. It is a Bio-Sphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, Tiger Reserve, National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Out of 102 islands of the Sunderbans, 54 are inhabited. Occupationally, villagers are largely dependent on monocropped agriculture, fishing and honey collection. In many cases the people are so poor that they have to depend on the forest for wood-cutting, felling, poaching etc. As a result, occasional man eating by the tigers and crocodiles take place. This gives rise to a man-animal conflict.

The Village adopted: Dulki, a forest fringe village in STR

Funded By: NEWS in collaboration with Project Tiger
Project Duration: 2005 (1 Year)

(1) To suggest & engage the villagers who live far below poverty line in the Sunderbans in alternative income generation.

(2) To make them self-reliant so they do not have to depend on the forest directly for livelihood.

(3) This will ultimately reduce man animal conflict in the Sunderbans.

(1) People of Dulki have come to understand that instead of depending on the forests & rivers and risking their lives for earning livelihood, it is much easier and safe to be involved in a self-help group and earn through it.

(2) The women folk, specially, are convinced that the alternative income generation schemes in a scientific manner can really be a substantial alternative source of livelihood.

(3) Cattle grazing have totally stopped on the river banks. This has helped to regenerate mangrove beds which will protect the fragile embankments of the village. Interestingly the main initiative has come from the members of the SHGs.

(4) Due to the prolonged awareness campaign launched by NEWS the relationship between the forest department & the villagers has improved. The leadership of SHGs has started helping the forest department in many ways from the conservation aspects.

(5) It is interesting to note that 10 – 12 women previously engaged in Prawn seed collection have totally stopped that & now are engaged in the SHGs for alternative income with great interest.