Data-driven Solutions for Community Forest Management
CBMGS on sustainable extraction of Seasonal Forest Products
Chhota Bhangal Maha Gram Sabha, a federation of 28 village communities, is recording data on Seasonal Forest Products that are extracted by communities in the valley. Members are collecting data from every household to estimate the quantity of Seasonal Forest Products collected and the location from where these products are extracted. The data on locations will be used to produce a map of distribution of all the Seasonal Forest Products in 35272 hectares of community owned forests in Chhota Bhangal.
At present, the system for data collection is manual. Communities are collecting information on the quantity of Seasonal Forest Products collected by households, sold in the market, and stored for self-consumption in the years 2020 and 2021. Information on the total participation in SFP collection from each household is disaggregated by gender to understand the contribution of women in the collection of Seasonal Forest Products. The information collected at the household level is validated through focus group discussions at the village level. So far, household data on resource use is compiled in 7 villages, and maps of distribution have been generated for SFPs extracted from 3 villages.
Going ahead, CBMGS is preparing to digitally record the data on SFP distribution, extraction, and sale through an offline application. The design of a data collection system is a priority, given that snows will start to melt near villages in mid-March and collection of the first Forest Product of the season – the lucrative Guchhi or Morel mushroom – will start in early April.
In a follow up meeting, the executive committee of CBMGS decided to collectively sell Guchhi, Mindel and the flowers of Bhurans tree. These products are collected by women and are prioritized as high-value and high-volume Seasonal Forest Products of Chhota Bhangal.
Gram Sabhas also want to use this data for making management plan for sustainable extraction of Seasonal Forest Products. Apart from a system for collecting data on Seasonal Forest Products extracted from the forests, the management plan will include regulations for resource extraction, penalties for breaking rules, and a strategy for aggregation, value addition and market linkage for selected Seasonal Forest Products.