The Assam State Biodiversity Board (ASBB) and Aaranyak collaborated in conducting a training programme for members of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC), youth, local NGOs and people on documentation of biodiversity and updating of People’s Biodiversity Register at Nunai Forest Range under Dhansiri Forest Division in Udalguri district of Assam.
The training was held recently under the aegis of UNDP GEF Small Grant Project (OP7) and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). The project is being implemented by The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) and executed by Aaranyak in Udalguri district of Assam.
The training programme focused on strengthening the capacity of the local BMCs for biodiversity documentation supported by the youth and local NGOs and communities. It is worth mentioning that biodiversity documentation is instrumental to keep record of the variety of life on earth supporting ecological understanding and scientific research. The information for biodiversity documentation aids in monitoring changes in the ecosystem, identifying endangered and endemic species as well as the impact of anthropogenic impact on biodiversity.
The People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) is a living legal biodiversity document which actively involves local communities in documenting and conserving biodiversity. The PBR serves as a repository of traditional knowledge about local and regional ecosystems, species and their uses often held by the indigenous or local communities.
The PBR can contribute to sustainable resource management and support the development of conservation strategies that align with the needs and practices of the people living in specific regions. From its inception, that is collection of information, to its acceptance as a formal document, PBR engages communities fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility for biodiversity conservation at the grassroot level promoting sustainable coexistence between people and nature.
ASBB’s Scientific Officer, Dr. Oinam Sunanda Devi detailed the participants about the Biological Diversity Act 2002, the role of National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and the Assam State Biodiversity Board.
Dr. Oinam discussed in detail about the roles and responsibilities and structure of 7-members Biodiversity Management Committee which is formed through election in the general body meeting of that local body comprising at least one-third women members and not less than 18% from Scheduled Tribes / Scheduled Castes.
Dr. Mazedul Islam, Technical Officer of ASBB, explained to the participants about the biodiversity documentation process of local flora and fauna as well as traditional practices of the local communities in terms of traditional medication, cropping, seed preservation.
Dr. Islam also briefed the participants about different reliable online portals for species identification, scientific name of species. They also briefed the students and youths present in the programme about internship opportunities with ASBB.
Eight members of local BMC, six members of local NGO, 10 community members and 17 students were trained in the programme for documentation of biodiversity.
Ranger Officer Anup Narzary and all staff of Nunai Forest Range also attended the training.
The responsibility of conducting the programme was shoulder by Jayanta Kumar Pathak, a Senior Manager in Aaranyak and Rabiya Daimari, a field coordinator of Aaranyak supported by Tanvi Hussain, Mondeep Basumatari, Abhijit Saikia, Pranab Goswami, Wasima Begum, Anushka Saikia, Reshma Narzary, Dibakar Nayak, Bikash Tossa and Pradeep Barman of Aaranyak.