The Himalayas are said to be the youngest mountain ranges in the world. This book studies the well-being of the eastern Himalayan forest-dwellers in terms of their capabilities and functioning. Using Amartya Sen’s and Martha Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach, it examines the educational and health opportunities and substantial freedoms afforded to farmers and pastoralists living and working in the Senchal and Singalila Protected Areas of North Bengal, India. It also discusses the challenges and potential of the Forest Rights Act as a well-being delivery mechanism. The book adopts a comparative narrative of socio-ecological information generated from interviews, ecological field methods, remote sensing and participatory rural appraisals to provide insight on human development in conservation contexts.
This volume will be of interest to students and researchers of conservation biology, development studies, socio-ecological systems studies, political ecology, human development index, ecological economics, environmental sociology, and South Asian studies. It will also be useful to policy-makers and NGOs in the conservation and livelihoods sector.
Table of Contents
1. Human Well-being in Conservation Landscapes 2. Sustainable Development as Freedom 3. Justice and the Jungle: Contextualizing the Central Capabilities in Singalila and Senchal Landscapes 4. Sustainable Ecological Capacity of Forest-Fringe Families 5. Our ‘Other Species’ Capabilities and Capabilities of Other Species 6. Our Village Would Have Been Heaven: What the Families of Gorkhey Value 7. Conclusion: Inclusion
Siddhartha Krishnan is Associate Professor at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Karnataka, India, and is affiliated to its Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation. He is the Convener of ATREE’s Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies. His disciplinary and conceptual interests are in historicizing environmental sociology and sociologizing environmental history. He collects field and archival data to address questions pertaining to pastoral landscape and lifestyle transformations; human capabilities and ecosystems services; environmental justice; and modernity and development questions as they pertain to food, pesticide use and human health. He teaches sociology, environmental sociology and qualitative research methods in ATREE’s PhD programme. He was Carson Fellow (2012-2013) at the Rachel Carson Center (RCC) for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany. Since April 2015, he is member of the Executive Committee of the Carson Society of Fellows. He was elected in April 2016 as a Board member of the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations.
Soubadra Devy is Associate Professor and Co-Convener of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Karnataka, India. Her research interests are in interactions between plants and animals, and developing a canopy programme for India through its protected areas network. She is also working on extending through participatory community approaches, the biodiversity frontier to production landscapes. In 2006, for her treetop discoveries, she won the Lowell Thomas prize awarded by the Explorers Club and Rolex, USA. She also develops rigorous field conservation courses, which cater to various target audiences.
Neha Mohanty presently works as Education and Communication Officer at the Academy for Conservation and Sustainability Studies, ATREE, Karnataka, India. Her areas of interest comprise issues of violence and dispossession, local health traditions, sociology of agriculture and eco-social justice. She is also interested in exploring the impact on mental health of communities in stressful conservation contexts.