Rangeland Conservation, Pastoralist Displacement, and Long-term Implications of a Grazing Ban in the Indian Himalaya
Keywords:Conservation Displacement, Himalaya, Pastoralism, Sikkim, Khangchendzonga National Park, Grazing Ban, Pastoral Communities, Conservation induced Displacement, Protected Areas, Biodiversity Conservation, Khangchendzonga National Park, Himalaya
Conservation-induced displacement has been one of the major critiques of protected area management across South Asia. While there has been a steady increase in research on physical displacement, studies on loss of mobility remain limited. In 1998, a grazing ban was implemented in the state of Sikkim in the Eastern Himalayan region of India. Livestock herding in protected areas was restricted, and pastoral evictions were carried out across the state between 2000–2002. Fifteen years after the ban, we conducted this study to understand the long-term implications of the prohibition on grazing as well as that of the pastoral evictions in and around Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP). To do so, we assess eviction processes, document pastoral responses, and explore the complex social and perceived ecological outcomes of the grazing ban. Our study shows that pastoral evictions result in the further impoverishment of weaker sections of the pastoral community while powerful pastoralists appropriate benefits from conservation policies. Additionally, evictions do not necessarily aid in “biodiversity conservation”; instead, they give rise to social conflicts within the local community and lead to the emergence of new conservation challenges...
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