Biodiversity Conservation - Challenges for the Future

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Documentation and Farmer Perception on Biodiversity in Rice Fields of Palakkad District

Pp. 137-149 (13)

Smitha K.P. and Anilkumar A.

Abstract

Rice wetland being highly fragile, the adverse effects of input intensive farming are prominent and far-reaching which questions the very existence of human race in this planet. Moreover, these practices are leading to extinction of many valuable flora and fauna. With the intension to study the effect of input intensive farming on the faunal and floral population associated with the rice fields, perception of farmers on enrichment of biodiversity by way of adopting eco-friendly farming was recorded. The investigation was undertaken in the Palakkad district, Kerala. A total of 40 beneficiary farmers were selected from the study area. The dimension was measured by using an interview schedule developed by the researcher for the purpose. To support this study on perception of farmers’, major organisms constituting the rice ecosystem were identified and documented by taking photographs. Elderly farmers were contacted with these photos to collect information on the variation in the diversity over the years. The study reveals that majority of the respondents (62.5%) perceived biodiversity enrichment as a major social benefit of eco-friendly farming. Most of these farmers opined that reduced use of chemical inputs and avoiding poaching in eco-friendly farming leads to conservation of biodiversity in this eco-system. 37.5 per cent respondents attributed biodiversity changes to other factors like climate change and other human interventions, besides eco-friendly cultivation. A list of the flora and fauna seen in rice fields and its population variation over years was recorded as a part of the study. As high external input agriculture has been proven to be unsustainable, ensuring food security requires a shift towards low external input/eco-friendly agriculture, which would maintain input-output cycles as well as the ecosystem balance.

Keywords:

Rice eco-system, biodiversity, Farmer perception, eco-friendly cultivation, flora and fauna.

Affiliation:

Senior Scientist, Community Agrobiodiversity Centre, M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation, Puthurvayal P.O, Kalpetta, Wayanad.