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Livelihood Systems, Adaptive Strategies and Sustainability Indicators in the Western Indian Himalayas

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Berkes, Fikret; Duffield, Colin E.; Ham, Laurie
Conference: Voices from the Commons, the Sixth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Berkeley, CA
Conf. Date: June 5-8, 1996
Date: 1996
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/962
Sector: Social Organization
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
land tenure and use
village organization
adaptive systems
Abstract: "The paper is based on an interdisciplinary team project in Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh, in the Western Indian Himalaya, and concentrates on three themes: land use and property-rights systems through which the local people interact with their environment; adaptive strategies used for sustainable livelihood security in the face of ecological, social and economic change, with focus on women's roles; and changes in the forest ecosystem and 'signs and signals' of sustainability as perceived by the people of the area. Local villagers are recognized as actors who define what is important and relevant, rather than merely the objects of study. Their perspectives provide two important findings: (1) adaptive strategies used by households and villages are diverse and contribute to the resilience of the social system and the natural system, and (2)villagers recognize a complex array of signs and signals, that are biophysical, social and economic in nature, and that may be seen as indices of sustainability. Village institutions are 'fuzzy' and resilient, and are the basis of both the system of adaptive strategies and the system of signs and signals. These institutions seem well adapted to fit into a decentralized, integrated, participatory resource management framework."

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