August 9 is celebrated as the World Tribal Day since 1994. In December 1994, the General Assembly of the United Nations had declared this day to be celebrated as the first International decade of the World’s Indigenous People. The first decade was celebrated from 1995 to 2004. It was followed by the second decade between 2005 and 2015. The second decade was called “A Decade for Action and Dignity.”
World Tribal day is celebrated to promote and protect the rights of the indigenous population. The Indigenous population is the one which resides in the forest lands and sustain themselves with local resources. There is around five percent Indigenous population in world. Besides the usage of natural resources, the Indigenous population also conserves them. The conservation measures of the tribal or the indigenous people can prove to be helpful or conservationists around the globe.
Here are few ways with which they conserve environment and natural resources.
Sustainable Farming by Indigenous People
Since the Indigenous people are dependent on nature for their food and other needs, they do farming in forest areas to fulfill those needs. However, different from regular farming, the methods used are capable of sustaining the natural resources for further use. One such method is Agroforestry.
Agroforestry means cultivation of useful plants in cultural landscapes in a sustainable manner. Medicines are also cultivated through this method. Apart from this, traditional water harvesting plants are also set up by these people. It helps in sustaining the groundwater level and fertility of soil. Agroforestry also helps in minimizing soil erosion.
Cultural values of Indigenous people
Many tribal groups conserve a particular area in a forest and worship it as god or goddess. The area can be a sacred grove or a sacred tree also. This type of traditional value conserves the forest area from product extraction or any human activity. In such protected areas, the biodiversity is very rich. It includes religious beliefs, royal traditions, livelihood traditions, and traditional values.
Indigenous groups in India
The Indigenous or tribal groups in India occupy 15 percent land area. They not only live there but also conserve them with various methods. India has more than 500 tribal groups (around 8.6 percent national population as per 2011 census) out of which, 75 fall under the category of Primitive Tribal Groups.
These tribal groups cultivate medicinal herbs and plants. India is very rich in biodiversity and cultural values. They protect certain plants as per their customary belief. These kinds of beliefs result in preservation of many medicinal plants and herbs.