The Ecozone and Local Community

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The Ecozone and Local Community

The Ecozone is the buffer zone between the Park and the rest of the region. It comprises villages and lands within a 5km radius around the Park. Villages located in the Ecozone are supposed to be closely associated to the protection of the park. Their culture and traditional livelihood have to be protected and a special emphasis is normally given to the development of the villages.

The majority of inhabitants of the Ecozone are agriculturalists ; they are almost self-sufficient for their own subsistence. They grow wheat, corn, rajma, (organic beans) and many vegetables and spices. They also grow fruits that are sold to larger markets in India. The region is well known for its apples and apricots.

Many of the villagers have large herds of sheep and goats. Both are used for wool and for their meat. Goats are often offered to the local Devatas (gods) on special occasions and also served as one of all-time-favourite delicacies of the region.

Since the creation of the Great Himalayan National Park, local community’s access to the Park has been prohibited. The park used to be an important source of livelihood for local communities be it by collecting medicinal plants, wood, or grazing their cattle.
Hence creation of the Park resulted in an important loss of income for the local community. Himalayan Ecotourism social and environmental objectives aim at facilitating availability of alternative sources of income so that welfare of the locals and protection of the Park are ensured.