Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary wins biodiversity award
Kohima, May 23 (EMN): Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS) was conferred with the National Biodiversity Award 2021 under the institutional category “sustainable use of biological resources” on the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22.
The India Biodiversity Awards under various categories were presented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change through e-celebration on Saturday.
The India Biodiversity Awards is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, National Biodiversity Authority and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The KNCTS is believed to have won the award for the unique practise of “alder-based jhum cultivation” by the people of Khonoma. The award comes with citation and INR 5 lakh (shared).
On winning the award, Chairman of KNCTS Kezhaseria Meyase congratulated the citizens of Khonoma for abiding to the rules of conservation thus far and added that ‘KNCTS represents the people’.
Sharing the process of winning the award, Meyase told Eastern Mirror that the organisation had applied for the India Biodiversity Award through Nagaland State Biodiversity Board, with the focus on ‘conservation related topic’. Subsequently, some of the panelists from India Biodiversity paid a field visit.
The panelists were “impressed” by the jhum cultivation and by the way Khonoma was strategically located– paddy field in the lower area, jhum in middle and reserve forest in the upper area — Meyase recalled.
“The award was for 2020 but due to the pandemic situation, we could receive it only this year,” he informed.
He assured that citizens of Khonoma would continue to ‘do good towards nature, humanity, and environment’. Through this initiative, ‘we are also trying to set an example for people of Nagaland, to India and the outside world’, he added.
He expressed hope that other districts in Nagaland would follow the same footsteps of conserving the environment as it is a “hot topic” (burning issue) in the world today.
Secretary of KNCTS, Keneivito Christopher Sophi, also told this newspaper that the only activity relating to ‘sustainable use of biological resources’ would be alder-based jhum cultivation. Otherwise, all activities KNCTS conducts are to do with conservation.
He went on to add that alder trees are found in abundance in Khonoma. The system to cultivate the alder tree, which is also called pollarding, is practiced mainly by the people khonoma. Shifting cultivation goes hand-in-hand with alder cultivation in Khonoma, he said.
“Since the organisation had applied for a conservation award, we were expecting an award confined to conservation not sustainable”, he said and added that jury members might have been impressed by the alder based cultivation, rainforest, or conserved area.
It may be mentioned that KNCTS is purely a community based organisation established on Dec 11, 1998 with a motto “Care for Nature’’. It was initially conceived and initiated by few conservationists and later on it became a common endeavour. KNCTS by far, has been instrumental in organising, monitoring, conserving and preserving the biodiversity in Khonoma area.
To commemorate the celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity 2021, the Khonoma Biodiversity Management Committee with the support of Nagaland State Biodiversity Board and National Biodiversity Authority has released a documentary film titled “Friend of the Farmers – We are part of the solution” on the sustainable alder-based cultivation practices of Khonoma, which is being made available on YouTube.