Livelihood and Common-Pool Resources. A Study of Thini Village, Mustang, Trans-Himalayan Region of Nepal
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- Department of Geography 
Agriculture and livestock rearing are the major livelihood earning activities of many people ofTrans-Himalayan villages of Nepal, which are not possible without relying on the availability ofand the accessibility to Common-Pool Resources (CPRs) such as forest, water and pastureland.Focusing on Thini village, Mustang district of Nepal’s Trans-Himalaya, this study aims toexplore the livelihood situations of the villagers, which set a main objective as “how do villagerssustain their livelihood in a situation of formally regulated CPRs. It further dismantles as (a)what are the major earning sources of the villagers? (b) How do villagers’ major earningsources relate and rely on the CPRs? And (c) how do villagers perceive the existence ofAnnapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) and its regulation of the CPRs? Getting insightsprimarily from qualitative research methodology, interview, observation, field conversation andphoto elucidating techniques were applied to collect primary information.Eric R. Wolf’s (1966) concepts of funds i.e. fund of reproduction, fund of rent and fund ofceremonial have found suitable while analyzing the livelihood of the villagers. He says that apeasant (a rural cultivator) is not evolving merely to produce grains to sustain his and hisfamily’s livelihood in a strict biological sense (fund of reproduction) but he must also set asidetime for several social as well as religious practices as a part of his and his family’s survival(fund of ceremonial). Similarly, a peasant must earn to pay taxes to the state or government, andif a peasant does not own the land, must pay rent to the landowner (fund of rent). Likewise, TorH. Aase’s (1998) local dialectic approach has been applied to see the changes in a community orsociety over space and time. He believes that societal changes take place interacting betweensocial organization (practice, behaviour), social structure (norms, rules) and culture (meaning)over space and time in a dialectical process. Some theories related to Common-Poor Resources(CPRs) have also been reviewed and applied in the present study.Though agriculture is practiced by all the villagers, most villagers lack sufficient agricultureproduction, which they fulfil by rearing livestock, running tavern, selling vegetable, apple,dehydrated apple, locally made alcohol (raksi), working as a wage labourer, and a mule driver.Very few villagers are earning from migration. Though the region is famous for tourism, Thinivillagers lack much direct benefit from it.Agriculture and livestock are the major earning sources of the villagers while making theirliving, which are not possible without the availability of and the accessibility to the CPRs.Villagers need forest for pastureland and fodder for their livestock, firewood for their householduse, humus, litter, and compost for the agriculture. Some villagers collect tree leaves to constructthe roof of their house. Villagers need water for irrigation and drinking purposes. Thus, it isfound that villagers are absolutely relying on CPRs for their agriculture and livestock activities.However, at present, the CPRs are being managed by Conservation Area ManagementCommittee (CAMC), which is formed by ACAP – a conservation-cum-development project,established in 1993 in Jomsom - which previously were being managed by villagers themselves.Since the management of CPRs has changed, there are confrontations between villagers and theproject. Even though ACAP has done some important development and awareness programmesuch as construction of trail, water reservoir, drinking water pipe distribution, help to constructfences for the agriculture fields; villagers’ are not satisfied with ACAP/CAMC mainly because itdoes not distribute poorji (a permission letter to cut the timber from the forest) in time.
UtgiverThe University of Bergen
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