Creating Knowledge pool of Tribal Eco-culture: An instrument for ecological restoration

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Published Sep 14, 2021
Souren Bhattacharya subhasree



Ecological imbalance is now a global concern for the last few decades. It’s a multi-facet problem that includes climate change, loss of biodiversity, the decline in food production and decline in quality of soil, air, and water [1]. The frequency of various natural disasters specially climate related disasters are reasonably increased across the globe [2]. According to the IPCC Working Group I report, ‘Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis’, climate change is observed in every region across the world. It is also forecasted that the global warming level will exceed 1.5ºc in the next decades [3]. An increase in the earth’s average temperature will intensify changes in rainfall patterns which will be resulted in frequent flooding [4], will hamper food crop production [5], sea level rise, and acidification of oceans, loss of marine biodiversity [6] and extinction of living organism. These incidents are consequences of adverse human interaction with the environment. The existing human norms, traditions, customs, habits have a deep impact on our environment. With the advent of a culture of modernity and development i.e. going forward for indiscriminate and unscientific industrialisation and urbanization have a deep impact on the ecosystem of this blue planet because from the very beginning it lacks self-understanding and self-discipline. The wrong notion of development cause the rampant and ruthless destruction of forest and biodiversity badly hampered ecological balance. With the writing of ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson the world community first became aware of environmental degradation.  The concepts of sustainable development emerged in the late 80’s with the aim of wise use of our ecological resources and make this planet more hospitable and habitable for all living beings of the present and future generations. The World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, in its report ‘Our Common Future’ first formulated a Sustainable Development Goal for peace and prosperity of the world. It is needless to say that environment and development are inseparable from each other because without environment there is no existence of development [7]. The UNO adopted ‘The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development where It has set up 17 goals as the instruments for attaining Sustainable Development [8]. We have lost 100 million hectares of land within two decades (2000-2020) and 37,400 plants and animal species are on the verge of extinction according to IUCN Red Data Book [9]. When more than 3 billion people are directly dependent on oceans, the dead zones are increased from 400 to 700 [10]. Sustainable Development Goal 14, 15 aims to restore our ecological balance whereas Goal 17 put emphasis on international cooperation from every segment of society.  We should remember our very resistance largely depend upon the existence of other organisms. It is an inclusive and integrated developmental approach. So every stakeholder of the society should be incorporated to attain the goal of sustainable development. Unfortunate the tribal communities, the men of nature, are the most neglected ones in the planning process.

 From time immemorial the tribal communities of the world live in various geographical settings. As they are largely dependent on nature and natural resources for their livelihood so they have adjusted their social living accordingly. More than 2000 tribal communities of the world are directly dependent on forests for their livelihood. For 1000 years they are using natural resources in their own unique way.  They not only use the biotic resources but also conserve it for long term use, a clear example of sustainable and wise use. For this purpose, they have developed their own culture of conservation which varies across the communities. The cultures of worshipping of the sacred grove, the culture of totems are among the few. The Canume tribe of Indonesia observe ‘Sar ritual’ which helps to conserve natural resources and reduce global warming [11]. The Bajo tribe of Indonesia follows the ritual to conserve marine biodiversity [12]. The Santals of West Bengal consume ‘Jhal Patra’ a mushroom growing in the wild which is of immense food value [13]. This oral knowledge of nature and environment is not static instead it changes over time to adapt to the environment. Thus they develop the knowledge of sensing the environment if things go unusual. But these valuable cultures are fading away or even lost due to cultural invasion. The tribal ecological knowledge can be very useful in restoring ecological balance and combating the adverse effects of climate change.









Fig.1.New Knowledge Production for restoring ecological balance

This research paper prospecting the possibilities that how the Pooling tribal ecological knowledge from different tribal communities and infuse those in modern scientific knowledge for the production of new knowledge can be instrumental in combating ecological degradation, as shown in fig.1. the tribal ecological wisdom, their worldview about using natural resources and tribal ecoculture should be incorporated in all planning processes for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals of ecological restoration and combating climate change.

How to Cite

Bhattacharya, S., & Pal, S. (2021). Creating Knowledge pool of Tribal Eco-culture: An instrument for ecological restoration. SPAST Abstracts, 1(01). Retrieved from
Abstract 1 |

Article Details


Key words: Ecology, Tribe, Culture, Sustainable Development, Knowledge.

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SMH2- Humanities