Khasi, Garo and Jaintia communities are “models for sustainability in the future”: Report and recommendations on ways to counter deforestation – Meghalaya

Deforestation in Garo Hills and its impactRead the full article here >>


The state was declared a full-fledged state of the Indian Union on January 21, 1972. The state of Meghalaya comprises Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills. The scheduled tribe populations (mainly belonging to khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes) constitute 85.53% of the total population. The Garos inhabit western Meghalaya, the Khasis central Meghalaya and the Jaintias eastern Meghalaya. This topic will be confirmed to the issue of deforestation which is considering as the major cause of degradation of environment in Meghalaya especially in East Garo Hills district. For our study we will consider both primary as well as secondary data. This research topic will deal with the objectives like, causes of deforestation, its impact on eco-system, effect on socio-economic condition, implementation of Government policies etc. […]

It has been observed that,the area under forest has been decreasing at a faster rate in the Garo Hills due to many special reasons. The shifting cultivation is one behind it, for which there is a decrease in primary productivity of natural, agro-ecosystems, loss in fertility, soil etc. […]

The previous cool weather is now transforming to hotter and hotter day by day, mainly due to deforestation and it is carrying some disease to the people. […]

According to Garos tradition they came originally from Tibet and after wandering long time in North Bengal and Brahmaputra valley they finally settled down in Garo Hills. They entered to the Garo Hills under the leadership of Abong-Naga and his wife Silme-Doka and first settled at Nokrek peak, after which, they scattered to the different parts of Garo Hills to earn their livelihood from agriculture and its allied activities. Now at present there are five Garo clans, namely, Sangma, Shira, Momin, Marak and Arengh; where each clan having anumber of sub-clans. The Garo people have been practicing matrilineal form of society. […]

Economic base

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Meghalaya. The Garos practice shifting (jhum) cultivation. They are also good fishermen but indifferent hunters. The Hajongs however, do not practice ‘shifting’ cultivation. The Khasi have fourmain types of land uses.(1) the forest land for jhum cultivation (2) wet paddy land (3) high grass land and (4) homestead land which is situated close to their courtyard. […]

The cash crop economy: The cash crop economy is an integral part of Third World “Development and a major cause of deforestation. The best land is taken to earn export income, which is very often used to pay the foreign debt. Farmers are forced onto marginal lands, resulting in deforestation, land degradation and poverty. In Garo hills this condition is occurring for rubber plantation, orange garden, battle nut garden etc. […]

Education is one of the most effective catalysts for change. Society should undertake to educate the people of today to change their ways and the younger generations to have respect for nature. In forest regions, the young people should receive knowledge about the biological, social and economic values of forests. Workers should be taught to use technology to enhance forest ecosystems instead of destroying them and for reforestation and afforestation projects. If humans are able to see themselves as part of nature, they will also respect forests as living communities, not just resources to be exploited. There are indigenous people who have lived in the forests for a long time. They have managed to use the forests sustainably while practicing shifting cultivation or hunting and gathering. Some of them still live in relative isolation in the forests. Human kind should protect their rights and preserve their cultures. They should be models for sustainability in the future. Indigenous people can show us what forest products to use and how to use them properly. They deserve to continue theirways of life.

Source: Manoj Kumar Hazarika in “Deforestation in Garo Hills and its impact” The Echo (An Online Journal of Humanities & Social Science), Volume I, Issue IV, April 2013, Dept. of Bengali, Karimganj College, Karimganj, Assam
Date Visited: 11 July 2020

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