• Kavita Arora


The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India are covered with some of the finest tropical evergreen forests in the world and are abode to a large number of rare, endangered, and even undocumented species of flora and fauna. Forestry operations did large-scale damage upon the island’s forests, and the biggest losers have been the indigenous communities that have lived there for thousands of years. There are six indigenous communities that live in the islands. The Great Andamanese, Onges, Jarwas, and Sentenlese inhabit the Andaman group of islands, while the Nicobarese and the Shompens, which are of Mongoloid origin, live in the Nicobar group of islands. Forestry operations in the islands have severely affected these tribal communities.

These communities are sufferer of timber extraction, forest encroachment, tourism, and other developmental activities like the Andaman Trunk Road constructed by mainland people. Since 1901, the tribal population has been declining so rapidly that they are on the verge of extinction. The maintenance of ecological balance in these islands is directly linked with the survival of these communities which are unique in themselves. They possess sagacious knowledge of their ecological surrounding and concern for its preservation. There is an old African proverb which goes “When an old knowledgeable person dies, a whole library dies.” The importance of tribal knowledge is hidden in this proverb. Therefore, the existence of these indigenous people and the maintenance of ecological balance are interdependent.


Knowledge production Civilization Intellectual superiority Policy-makers Natural regeneration Exploitation Decentralization Ecological services 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Kavita Arora
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DelhiShaheed Bhagat Singh CollegeDelhiIndia

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