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Having No Community Land in Resource Poor Region Creates a Sustainable System: Case Study of Kangayam Grassland

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Kumar, Anil; Biradar, N. B.; Natarajan, S.; Trivedi, B. K.
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7336
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): grasslands
property rights
Abstract: "Examples of sustainable management of tropical grassland on very large area are difficult to locate. The management of Kangayam grassland spread over 4000 sq km in south India, in a sustainable way for hundreds of years; hardly make a news inspite of the frequent drought because of the collective action of the people and use of innovative technologies. The most important factor has been the absence of communal grazing lands, negating the play of ‘tragedy of Commons’. The cultivators in the Kangayam grassland had occupancy rights for more than 100 years, which encouraged them to invest in the unproductive land over generations, building wells for drinking water to animals, identifying and using Balsmodendron berryi as live fence around the grazing areas, taking a collective decision to discourage goats in the region which damage the live fence etc. Thus, the paddock system of livestock rearing evolved, following the principles of rotational grazing and required minimal labour input because of the live fence around the grazing areas. The sustainable system was also reflected in stable human population during last century (growth rate: 0.45% p.a. between 1891- 1991) and a healthy gender ratio (1046 female/1000 male). The Kangayam grassland offers an insight into the collective action in a resource poor region creating a sustainable system over hundreds of years which could be replicated elsewhere."

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