Rural Collectives for Livelihoods and Conservation: Lessons from Malè Mahadeswara Hills, Karnataka

  • B. Dhanya
  • Seema Purushothaman
  • Sheetal Patil


While an array of livelihood options are available to the marginalised communities in forest peripheries, they face several challenges in harnessing these, as the previous chapters revealed. The loss of traditional community-based institutions and the failure of alternative social capital to emerge are among the foremost. In this context, self-help groups (SHGs) have recently evolved to fill this vacuum with the primary objective of poverty reduction. However, if sustainable rural well-being is the objective, SHGs need to synergise the interlinked assets of natural, social, human and physical capital in a rural environment. SHGs have been mostly associated with the last, providing credit access to rural communities, supporting them in liquidity crises and helping them embark on profit-oriented enterprises. Though perceived as major change agents, without an integrated perspective of their social-ecological-economic system (SEES), poverty reduction and rural well-being through self-organisation will remain unrealised goals. Taking the case of selected SHGs functioning among forest-dependent communities near the Malè Mahadeswara Hills (MM Hills) in Karnataka, this chapter explores their multiple objectives from a SEES perspective and assesses their potential in synergising a dynamic equilibrium within the rural SEES. The authors further argue that regular monitoring of the impact of SHGs on the natural, social and human capital of SEES is as important as monitoring their success in alternative livelihood.


Social Capital Natural Resource Management Poverty Reduction Natural Capital Microfinance Institution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to thank respondents in MM Hills for their cooperation in the survey. Mr. Ramesh Kannan, Senior Research Associate, ATREE, and Mr. Narayana, Field Assistant, MM Hills field station, ATREE, are gratefully acknowledged for facilitating the survey.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Dhanya
    • 1
    • 2
  • Seema Purushothaman
    • 3
    • 4
  • Sheetal Patil
    • 4
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Agricultural SciencesRaichurIndia
  2. 2.School of Environmental ScienceMahatma Gandhi UniversityKottayamIndia
  3. 3.Azim Premji UniversityBangaloreIndia
  4. 4.Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the EnvironmentBangaloreIndia

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