Amid the growing concern over climate change and environmental degradation caused by increasing deforestation among several other major factors, several countries are today compelled to bring out environmental policies to save the planet from further degradation. Sharing the serious concern, Nampisha (Ramphoi) village in Kamjong district, Manipur, along the India-Myanmar border, has set up its own set of rules and regulations, invoking an environmentally conscious outlook while keeping local traditions intact to some extent.
Nampisha village maintains strict regulations on wildlife conservation. The village is Manipur’s nearest front to Myanmar’s border towns Homalin and Ongjia.
According to villagers, Nampisha (Ramphoi) village follows a community-based land ownership system but the paddy lands are individually owned. They pointed out that specific areas near the village are allotted for shifting cultivation.
Speaking exclusively to Imphal Free Press, Nampisha village secretary AS Aphang said the village had declared the entire western side of Nampisha village as a reserve forest area. Areas where shifting cultivation are not done also come under reserve forest areas, he added.
“Villagers can cut down trees for personal use but not for commercial purposes,” the village secretary said.
Villagers are allowed to cut a handful of trees and sell only when the family is in dire need of financial aid, he added.
Aphang maintained that the mandate was enforced a few years ago to revive the lush green covers of the village.
Highlighting that only specific areas on the eastern side of the village are allotted for shifting cultivation, Aphang also pointed out that shifting cultivation was gradually dipping as majority of the villagers had left the farming lifestyle.
“The number of households in the village totals to nearly 65 but only 20 per cent of the population today practice cultivation and farming,” he said.
Aphang highlighted that the villagers had resorted to the restriction as soil fertility and forest maturity had taken a major hit. Not only that, the climatic condition in the village also degraded, he added.
As such, he exuded confidence that the conservatory efforts will improve soil fertility and revive natural streams in the region.
Regarding wildlife conservation, Aphang stated that Nampisha village authority has a strict mandate against animal and bird hunting during the breeding season, that is, from January to July. He mentioned that during the breeding season of animals and birds, villagers are not allowed to set traps and hunt though fishing is allowed.
“The move was taken up to preserve and safeguard wildlife as certain animal species had gone extinct from the village forest,” he said. Aphang also stated that villagers had taken the resolution regarding wildlife conservation in the beginning of 2022.
“Since then, species which had not been spotted in the village for long had started coming up,” he claimed, pointing pointed out that the village conservatory regulations fell in line with government laws to some extent.
“We survive through hunting. We cannot give up hunting completely. Hence, the village hunting mandate was enacted,” he said.
Aphang urged people in the village to collectively strive for environment conservation and do their part in keeping the planet green.