Eco-tourism as a Strategy in Supporting Local Livelihoods and Protecting Commons through Community based Institution

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"Chilika is one of the important commons recognized globally for rich biodiversity and being home to numerous migratory birds. Mangalajodi is one among the 132 villages situated on banks of Chilika. Due to vast area a large number of birds migrate from different parts of world to spend winters and breed. A decade long Community Conservation efforts initiated by Wild Orissa has resulted in establishing Sri Sri Mahabir Pakshi Surakshya Samti (Literally: Bird Protection Committee). Bird Protection committee is active in taking conservation activities in Mangalajodi since over a decade now, which has resulted in regular increase in number of Birds. Looking into the Ecotourism potential of the area a Community based Ecotourism Project was initiated at Mangalajodi with vision to sustain livelihood of local community members involved in conservation. Project involved mobilizing the local community and constituting Mangalajodi Ecotourism Society to take care of Ecotourism activities. Project if successful in long run can act as a model for providing solution to many wildlife habitats sharing space with local communities. Paper attempt to analyse and share experiences from a yearlong experience in initiating Ecotourism activities at Mangalajodi and, suggesting it as an alternate livelihood option for other villages in Chilika, its role in management and conservation of biodiversity and required policy and institutional mechanisms from forest and other concerned departments."
ecotourism, conservation, fisheries, livelihoods, community