Research Article On “Sources of Livelihood Dependent on Forest Base Managements for the Tribes in Kra Daadi District of Arunachal Pradesh”
issue 3

Research Article On “Sources of Livelihood Dependent on Forest Base Managements for the Tribes in Kra Daadi District of Arunachal Pradesh”

Dr. Chokio Taku

Assistant Professor

Department of Economices

Dera Natung Govt. College, Vivek-Vihar Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India-791113

Email: / Contact No. 9436839362/7005487322


Communities of Tribal peoples are of great interest and intense significance from forest perspective, as they inhabit for a very long period time over the same region. In the state of Arunachal Pradesh as a whole and Kra Daadi district in particular, tribal communities reside in close touch with forest and thus, dependent on it. That is why, it’s a great significance to study their do’s and don’ts in order to propose better forest and environmental managements interventions considering options for enhancing livelihoods of the tribal communities in Kra Daadi district. In this study, three tribal communities of the district i.e., Nyishi, and Puroik have been purposively selected for questionnaire survey. Data has been taken into consideration from two vital viewpoint i.e., livelihood pattern and forest dependence, assuming that all tribes are dependent on forest resources for their livelihood. Through this study, it is found that Nyishi tribe is economically better-off in terms of land ownership and income per capita respectively. Forestry practice provides little share in their total income though Nyishi tribe has the highest land per capita in forestry sector as well as in agricultural sector. On the other hand, Puroik tribe’s living standard is comparatively very low as their income and land per capita is low, and they are more dependent on forest. Puroiks tribe keeps the comparative middle status in almost every sector. A variety of other social and environmental factors were also collected and thoroughly analysed which may be useful for further research in this region.

Keywords: Forest, Resources, Livelihood, Tribals, Kra Daadi, Arunachal Pradesh


In present day Arunachal Pradesh, there is a general conformity about the importance of tribal people on social and cultural practices. As tribal communities constitute the state’s cultural diversity, the knowledge and study on those regions require vast amount of data about those people’s way of life. Tribal people numbers little more than 9 lakhs i.e. 72.81.22% of the state’s total population (2011 Census) embody and nurture the state’s cultural and biological diversity. They live in around naturally origin virgin forests and are concerned with preserving land, protecting language and promoting culture. Some tribal people strive to preserve traditional way of life, while other seeks greater participation in the current state structure.

A total of 26 different major tribes and 110 sub-tribes and minor tribes speaking as many as 42 different dialects with varied size and population are living in Arunachal Pradesh (Arunachal Pradesh State Gazetteer, 2010). While coming to Kra Daadi district, as per the provisional population Census of 2011, the population of a district is pegged at 46,704 with 22,848 males and 23,856 females as compare to undivided Kurung Kumey district was 42,518 with 21,117 males and 21,401 females in 2001 Census. The district registered a record decadal growth rate among the districts of Arunachal Pradesh with 111.01% during the decade 2001-2011. The population of this district is predominantly tribal (more than 97%) and Nyishis and Puroiks are the major tribal groups inhabiting the region. The Nyishis are demographically the dominant tribe inhabiting in all directions/circles of the district. The Puroiks a relatively small tribe is confined to the western and north-western part of the Palin, Tali and Pipsorang circles. They are closely related to the Nyishis whom they resemble in dress, festivals, manners and customs, and with whom they often intermarry. The Puroiks are confined to the high hills in the district’s northern, north-western and western part spanning the areas of Palin, Tali and Pipsorang circles. The Puroik settlements are interspersed with the Nyishi villages. Their economy is based on food-gathering and big-game hunting. Few of them are now taking to sedentary form of agriculture and the change in their life style is now perceptible, though at minimal level.

The tribal communities in Kra Daadi district are still left as the most disadvantageous groups by the government and policy makers. These tribals sometimes fell themselves alienated from the mainstream in terms of actual practice and development behaviour. As a consequence, an antagonistic relationship has been inexistence between the people and government. The government claims that the tribals are key destroyers of the forest and its resources. On the other hand, the tribal people believe that different developmental projects and incursion of non-indigenous people to their area are adversely affecting their lifestyle and livelihood. Hence, the importance of studying people’s livelihood pattern cannot be ignored, as the rural setting refers more dependence on forest than urban areas and diversified practice needs diversified study. This study was carried out to have an idea about the tribal lifestyle, to have an understanding of the socio-economic status of tribals and also to find out the dependence of forest as a source of livelihood among the tribal communities of Kra Daadi district in Arunachal Pradesh.


 This paper discusses about three tribes viz. Nyishi and Puroik in Kra Daadi district of Arunachal Pradesh. Data was collected from three different sites and from two significant perspectives of livelihood pattern and forest dependence. Questionnaire survey was prepared to accumulate the data. Through those data, their socio-economic status was analysed and scrutiny is made to find out who are comparatively more dependent on forest resources for their living. It is assumed that, all the three tribal communities are equally dependent on forest for their livelihood. Further, it is also presumed that they have equal impact on forest. The area for the study of tribal communities was as under:

  1. For Nyishi tribe- Bangte-Bangchi, Palin and Pania Sub-Division, Kra Daadi District.
  2. For Puroiks tribe- Rayuk/Tassar village in Palin circle, Kra Daadi District.
  3. For Puroik tribe- Loaha village in Tali circle and pocket at Pipsorang circle,  Kra Daadi District.

Purposive clustered sampling was pursued. Area of study was chosen purposively to get typical data from a specific tribal community. This was done in order to make the outcomes identical to a greater extent. Investigation was done to opt the method of sampling. A total of 30 tribal families were interviewed taking 10 families from each tribe.

People-Forest Interactions

There is no doubt that all people (rural or urban dwellers) have some dependence on forests, at least for construction materials and for products such as timbers and papers. However, many people rely heavily on forests for their livelihoods (see Table 1.). In this regard, rural households heavily relied on natural resources. Studies indicate that as much as 20-25% of rural people’s income may be derived from environmental resources in developing countries where India is also a part (WRI, 2005; Vedeld et al., 2007). Poor people typically engage more in low-return forest activities, but often fail to accumulate capital from such activities. Meanwhile, the concept of ‘forest-dependency’ is complicated one. Although it is possible to refer loosely to any people who relied on forest and its products for their livelihood as being to some extent ‘forest-dependent’, this loose usage blurred fundamental distinctions between different types of relationships. By presenting a fundamental critique of the use of the term ‘forest-dependency’, Byron and Arnold (1997) argued that it is more useful to present a typology of different types of users. They crafted a vital distinction between people who rely on forest use and have to substitute, and those who use forest products or hold-on in economic activities linking forests, but do so as matter of preference.

 Tribals may be consider as the offspring of forests who depending on them for their subsistence and other economic activities. It is reported that about 60 million indigenous people are almost totally dependent on forests (Colchester, 2006). Dubois (1996) reported that Amazonian Indians have been depending on forests, for centuries, for livelihood through shifting cultivation, hunting, fishing and accumulation of forest products. According to Dembner (1996), Pygmies of Central African rain forests have traditionally lived by specialising in hunting and gathering wild forest resources, which they consume themselves or trade to neighboring farmers. Traditionally, tribal communities are well-informed about natural resources on which they are closely dependent. They are considered to be a threat to forest conservation. But, there are instances from different parts of the world that the tribal forest dwellers apply traditional knowledge and new tools and techniques in forest management. Over the past few decades, the magnitude of tribals’ Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in managing natural resources and environment has gained increasing recognition.

Table 1: Forests Contribution ways to Human Livelihood

Fisher et al., (1997) has acknowledged three broad categories of interactions between people and forest which may be mention as follows:

  1. People who reside inside forests, often living as hunter-gatherers or shifting cultivators, and who are heavily relied on forests for their livelihood on a subsistence basis. People in this group are often indigenous people or people from ethnic tribal communities. They are, thus, usually outside the mainstream polity and economy.
  2. People who reside near forests, frequently involved in agriculture outside the forest, which regularly use forest products partly for their own subsistence functions and partly for income generation. For those involved in agriculture, nutrient supplements from forests are often crucial to productivity. Such supplements can be in the form of mulch from leaves gathered in the forest. Another source of nutrient supplement is forest grazing by livestock which alters nutrients from forest biomass into manure.
  3. People engaged in mercantile activities as trapping, accumulating minerals or forest industries such as logging. Such people may part of a mixed subsistence and cash economy. Distinctness of these people from first two categories may be found from the fact that they depend on income from forest-dependent labour rather than from direct subsistence use of forest products. However, it is worthy to note that this type of people forest relationship or interaction can exist even in an extremely monetized circumstance.
  4. The forest products obtained by the tribal communities from the study areas have been grouped as per use and a description of each use type is as below:


The major fodder species as enlisted by the Nyishi tribe are takuk-sangney (Gynocardia odorata) and kulung (wild banana or Musa sp), the former for being palatable, easy to digest and for its milk enhancing properties and the latter for its easy availability and palatability. Traditionally, these people leave their animals & livestock for grazing and feeding in the open areas, Jhum fallows and the community forests. Stall feeding is a phenomenon of very recent past and is now seen in practice in some private farms. Gynocardia leaves are available only during the monsoon months, whereas Wild banana is available through out the year. In addition bamboo foliage also acts as a supplementary fodder. Fodder collection is only for meeting the requirement of their domestic cattle and has been taken up in the recent past.

Fuel wood

The most preferred species for fuel wood Nyishi is yahak-sangney (Macranga denticulata). A local species yarphu-sangney (Callicarpa arborea) is also highly preferred for use as fire wood. These are very light woods, easily combustible, leave less smoke while burning and dry easily. In addition to these, many inferior wood species are also made use of for fuel wood purposes. The availability of the same is throughout the year and in addition to meeting their subsistence requirement; head loads from the Jhum land are also sold in the nearby market. The general rule of collecting only dry and fallen stems and branches is practised. Wood of other species is also made use of for burning, depending on the demand and relative availability.

 Construction Material


Yalluk-sangney (Hollock or Terminalia myriocarpa) and sangnyum-sangney (bola or Morus laevigata) are the two timber yielding species most preferred for use in construction and repairs of dwelling houses. In the typical long house of the Nyishis, bamboo and roofing leaves of wild banana are also made use of. As a general understanding among the community members, timber for domestic use can be taken from the community forest or the Jhum land, irrespective of the ownership of the Jhum land. Mekhahi (Phoebe cooperiana), taram (Alnus sp) and jutli (Altingia excelsa) are the other timber yielding species which are also made use of.


The house of the local are rose normally on stilts and the requirement of poles for the same is met from the forests. Yahak-sangney (Macranga denticulata) and yarphu-sangney (Callicarpa arborea) are the more commonly used species for the same. For construction of their long houses, bamboo also comes in very handy as stilts, struts, purlins and rafters in the same along with the woody species.


Ropes made of locally available bamboo, canes and local species tapetarig are commonly use for construction works, livestock and other miscellaneous works.

Medicinal Plants

A host of wild flora is used for the traditional medicine of the people of this area. The plants are made use of in curing diseases and disorders ranging from simple cuts & wounds to Jaundice. The traditional system is passed by the word of mouth and still a major number of diseases are being cured in this way. These plants are available in the forest area throughout the year and their extraction is needs specific. Dhuna resin (Canarium resiniferum) is also used in households for expelling mosquitoes and is sold in the local markets.



The wild plants are a major component in the daily dietary consumption of the tribes of the study area. Though the list may be an exhaustive one and for want of detailed survey on the same, a few of them enumerated by the people are papua-toh, jonko, rara, babuk, buck-barawa, bamboo shoots etc. Many among these are eaten either raw or in boiled form for their medicinal value. Their availability is generally throughout the year, with the intermittent seasonal variations. In addition, variety of tubers, mekahi (Phoebe cooperiana) fruits, mature seeds and fruits of Amoora walichiana are also made use of for supplementing their diet.


Fishing and small game supplements the diet of the villagers. In addition honey is extracted, based on the availability. The honey from the small bees (Apis florea) is termed ngunya and that from the bigger ones ngocho (Apis indica). Besides being used as an effective medicinal supplement, it is also sold in the local market. Honey is available in the months from August to December. Balam-tapum (a caterpillar), ruik (pupae and frogs) also supplement the diet. A locally available insect known as tari-pumchii is a cherished delicacy and people may be seen looking for the same in the river banks and near boulders.

Concerns of Tribal Communities in Relation to Forests

Forests are among the world’s most diverse and most endangered ecosystems on the earth. In this context, it is imperative to underline some basic concerns which have yet to be truly taken up for doable forest conservation. Concerns of tribal communities in relation to forests may be citing as under:

  1. The first concern is that forests are not empty. Forests have been inhabited by tribal communities for hundreds of thousands of years, well before the creation of most of the modern nation states. Each of those people has a very precise knowledge of the boundaries of the territory they used, owned and managed.
  2.  The second concern is that tribal people hold the rights to those territories by virtue of being a first settlement. However, these rights are not recognised by most national and state governments, which declare that forests belong to the state. This legal injustice paves the way to destruction of forest through government concessions for large scale exploitation.
  3.  The third concern is that tribals hold the knowledge about the forest. Evidence of this is that for centuries they managed to live with the forest while fulfilling all material and spiritual requirements through adept management. The causes of most present destructive practices is usually in external pressures on forests from government policies rather than in tribals’ themselves.
  4. The fourth and the most vital concern regarding the future of forests is that tribals are the ones more directly involved in their conservation because forests not only ensure their livelihoods but are an integral part of their ways of life, where respect for nature is at the nucleus of their culture. They are the “right-holders”, not merely a “stake-holders” and as such they are the most keen to protect their resources in the long run.

Tribals, thus, constitute a ray of hope for the future of the forests. They have the grip of the rights and knowledge and their physical and cultural survival relies on ensuring their conservation. In many instances, tribals are adapting their knowledge to a varying situation, working out and executing options for sustainable and impartial livelihoods, far away from “sustainable development” discourse which governments have barred of the sense it originally conceded.

 Findings and Discussion

 Land Ownership

Land ownership and land-use pattern are important parameters for livelihood studies. Land ownership for forestry sector shows how the tribal communities are dependent on forest and also its gives a clue to find out the effective utilisation of forest land. In Table 2 below, it is shown that total land per capita of the Nyishi tribe was (111.78 decimals). In case of Puroik per capita land holding is about 39.44 decimals which was the minimum.

Table 2: Per Capita Land Holdings among the Tribes of the Study Area

Land-Use in Different Categories

The per capita land by land-use type owned by the three tribes of Kra Daadi district is shown in Table 3 below. Among Nyishis, per capita land holdings under forestry, agriculture and homestead were 87.12 decimals, 52.89 decimals and 21.49 decimals respectively. Though the amount of forest land per capita is highest among Nyishi, yet the income from forestry was not that maximum. It indicates the unproductive use of forest land. Yet, the share of forestry in their income was highest amongst the two tribes, which means they are productive user of forest land. In case of Puroiks, per capita lands possession under forestry was 41.58 decimals, 14.97 decimals under agriculture and 1.85 decimals under homestead.

Table 3: Analysis of Per Capita Land Ownership by Land-Use Types among the Tribes of the Study Areas

 Income Analysis

To find out the livelihood pattern, income and sources of income from each of the three tribes data has been interpreted. Income per capita and per family are compared and contribution of each sources of income is provided. The following Table 4 shows the per capita income of three tribes of Kra Daadi district. The highest per capita income was among Nyishis which was Rs. 23, 789.10 per annum and minimum was found among Puroiks which was Rs. 5,467. It was also observed that among the Nyishis, more family members were involved in income generating activities.

Table 4: Per Capita Income of the Tribes of the Study Area

An analysis of the family income by the respondent households’ (in Table 5) shows that highest family income in the study area was found in Nyishi families i.e., Rs.27,500 per annum and minimum in Puroik families i.e., Rs. 6,300 per annum. Household with high involvement in different income generating activities generated more income. Nyishi family members were found to be much more involved in different activities among the three tribes in the district.

Table 5: Per Family Income of the Tribes of the Study Area

Sources of Income of the Tribal Communities

In given above table.3 compared with the percentage of the sources of income of Nyishi tribe is given. Results show that maximum income was derived from agriculture (68%) and minimum from service (2%). On the other hand, 35% income was generated from business and 25% was from forestry activities. 60% people were earning member in the 20 families in the Sources of income distribution from Agriculture Services, Business and Forestry in Nyishi tribe.

The maximum percentage of income of Puroik tribe (in table. 3) is generated from forestry (71%) and minimal percentage of income from service (4%). About 31% and 24% of the income is generated from agriculture and business respectively. About 34% people of the Puroiks contributed monetary support to their families from Agriculture Services, Business and Forestry resources in terms of income distribution of Puroik Tribe.

Overall Analysis of the Sources of Income of the Tribes

 The analysis of all sources of income for these two tribal communities is shown Table. 4. The table also shows the contribution of each source of income to the families of these tribal groups. It shows that Nyishi tribe is more dependent on agriculture different types of services. Puroik tribe is heavily dependent on forest (71%). Analyses of the Sources of Income of two tribes are of Kra Daadi District Nyishi and Puroik on Agriculture Services, Business and Forestry in table. 4.

Forest as a Source of Income for Tribes

Though there is variation in the resources utilisation, but each tribal group is dependent on forest resources in the study areas. Per capita and per family income from forestry practice, forest products and share of forest contribution have been calculated for each tribe as follows. In the study area among the three tribes, the highest per family income from forestry practice and forest products (Table. 5) was gained by Puroik (Rs. 6,500 per annum) and the lowest per family income from forestry and forest products was by Nyishi (Rs. 3,500 per annum). The highest per capita annual income from forestry practice and forest products was also found among the Puroiks (Rs. 4,532). It was also observed that per capita annual income from forestry practice and forest products among Nyishis was Rs. 3,245. Both Nyishi and Puroik per Family Income in Rs. table.5. Annual Family Income of the Tribes of Kra Daadi District from Forestry Practice and Products

From the given below figure (Table. 6), it was observed that total per capita income both forestry and all sectors was high in Nyishi tribe and it also contribute more in total per capita income. Puroik tribe has the highest per capita income in forestry sector as compare to Nyishis. Nyishi and Puroik total Per Capita Income of all Sectors in Rs. table. 6: Analysis of Per Capita Income on all Sectors of the Tribes of Kra Daadi district Distribution of share of forestry activities in average per capita income of three tribes of Kra Daadi district shows that the maximum share (71%) of forestry was in Puroik tribe followed Nyishi (21%). This indicates that Puroik tribe is comparatively depending more on forestry practice and forest products for their livelihood.

Reliance on Forest

Following table shows the distribution of reliance on forest among the three tribes of Kra Daadi district based on the number of person engaged in diverse forest based activities. From the outcome it was found that, Puroiks were comparatively much more dependent on forest in every aspect. For instance, they depend on forest for their housing materials (93.18), livestock grazing or gathering fodder (69.52), gathering fuel wood (100%) and medicinal purpose (78.82%). Reason for such huge dependent is because Puroiks’ settlement areas are found in such a remote and inaccessible location that the modern-day facilities like building materials, medicines, etc. are unable to reach their settlement area. Whereas, both Nyishi settlement areas are found in accessible locations where some building materials like cements, CGI sheets and modern medicines could very easily brought from nearby towns.

Table 6: Analysis of Forest Dependence of the Tribes of Kra Daadi District Based on the Number of Persons Engaged in Diverse Forest Based Activities

Food Reliance

Food, an important parameter for community livelihood assessment is as much as vital for tribal communities of Kra Daadi district. Among the three tribes of the district, those who were dependent on food with respect to agricultural practice and marketing, the maximum percentages were found in Nyishi 38.26. The Puroiks are mostly dependent on forest because they abandoned their agricultural cultivations since 2009 due to rat menace triggered by the bamboo flowering.

Table 7: Analysis of Food Reliance of the Tribes in the Study Area

Miscellaneous Findings

Eight houses out of thirty five (25%) was pucca or semi-pucca, while other 30 (75%) houses were built of bamboos, wooden planks and wavy CGI sheets. Most of the households especially belong to Puroik community, uses traditional hearth for cooking where fuelwood and residues are used; while some Nyishis found to be using LPG cylinder for fast cooking along with the traditional hearth. Almost every household of all the three tribes found to be collect fuel wood from nearby forests for their domestic use. It was astonished to note that almost all the households don’t have toilets having sanitary latrine barring few households those having sanitary latrine by their own. It is also found that all the respondents belong to three tribes were a permanent resident of their villages, meaning they haven’t migrated from any other places.


 This modest but substantial study has offers a broad idea of the life, standard of living and land-use pattern of the tribal societies of Kra Daadi district in Arunachal Pradesh. A precise account about their dependence on forest is also depicted. With this study, it is observed that role of Government officials to the tribals are sometimes contradictory. Besides, Government is regrettably dormant for motivating any development strategy in the study areas. Tribal communities are not actively involved with any kind of practice with Government departments and their officials, although few Panchayat leaders are involved. No any participatory appraisal scheme is running over there in the study areas. There are some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and few women Self Help Groups (SHGs), who are functioning intermittently with a short term vision for the welfare of the people. An amalgamated development plan is supposed to play a crucial role for the development of these tribals. Government’s development agencies like District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Rural Work Department (RWD), Public Work Department (PWD), Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), and department of Water Resource Development (WRD) needs to actively involved the people in their participatory projects and co-management activities. Literally speaking, the tribal people have got the top precedence to be incorporated as participatory stakeholders of the forest, but they still lack of real access to the participatory forest management. Tribal communities in Arunachal Pradesh as a whole and of Kra Daadi district in particular can no longer be walked over, as has been always the case. The findings of this humble research study may facilitate to illuminate assured development policy for the well-being of the tribals. The study is comparative in nature, the outcomes establish through this study can be held as identical to the large scale study.


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