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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 289-313

Forest Product Use, Conservation and Livelihoods: The Case of Uppage Fruit Harvest in the Western Ghats, India

1 Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), 659 5th A Main Road, Hebbal, Bangalore 560 024, India.
2 Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, 208 Mueller Lab, University

Correspondence Address:
Nitin D Rai
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), 659 5th A Main Road, Hebbal, Bangalore 560 024, India.

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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The harvest and sale of non-timber forest products (NTFP) by local communities has been suggested as a possible solution to the often observed conflict between forest use and forest conservation. Recent studies have, however, suggested that the economic rewards might not be constant, and that ecological effects of harvest might be higher than previously believed. In India trade in NTFP has a long history, but few studies have explored both the ecological and socio-economic aspects of harvest. We report here the results of a socio-economic and ecological study on the harvest of fruits from the rainforest tree uppage (Garcinia gummi­gutta), which occurs in the tropical forests of the Western Ghats. We studied the characteristics of uppage fruit harvest, socio-economic factors that influence harvest, and the ecological effect of fruit harvest under differing tenurial regimes. Our findings suggest that dependence on NTFP harvest by local communities might be problematic due to market instability, patchy resource distribution, in­equitable access to forest resources within the village and lack of security of tenure.

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