OF SESSION: 2001– 2002







1.1. General

The term indigenous knowledge (IK) is broadly defined as the local knowledge held by indigenous peoples or local knowledge unique to a given culture or society and is used here interchangeably with traditional knowledge. More specifically, we use the term traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) as a sub set of Indigenous Knowledge. It is defined here as a cumulative body of knowledge and believes, handed down through generation by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment. Indigenous knowledge or Traditional Ecological Knowledge is an attribute of societies with historical continuity in resource use practices; by and large, these are non-traditional societies, many of them indigenous or tribal (Warren et al., 1993).

Traditional knowledge is important for its own sake and for its social and cultural value. But, it is also significant for a number of practical reasons, many of them relevant to biodiversity conservation .The following list is adapted from the IUCN Programme on Traditional knowledge for conservation.

1. TEK offers new biological knowledge and ecological insights;

2. Some TEK systems provide models for sustainable resource management;

3. TEK is relevant for protected areas and conservation education;

4. The use of TEK is often crucial for development planning; and

5. TEK may be used in environmental assessment

Towards the end of the 19th century, academics began to use the prefix to refer to the way of interpreting nature through the indigenous people. Ethnozoology is the term that requires the understanding of traditional knowledge. This subject has adopted more scientific knowledge, arrived at on the basis of practical experience, without having undergone any rigorous experimental verification, and often handed down orally from generation to generation, is termed as traditional knowledge (Gadgil, 2003).

In particular, indigenous knowledge differs from scientific knowledge in it’s:

  • restricted geographical scale of observations
  • Reliance on mainly qualitative (rather than quantitative) informations;
  • Lack of a built in drive to accumulate more and more facts;
  • slower speed in the accumulation of facts;
  • More reliance on trial and error, rather than on systematic experimentation;
  • Limited scope for the verification of predictions; and
  • Lack of interest in general principles or theory building

Indigenous knowledge is often considered as informal knowledge that exists in local societies in comparison with formal knowledge developed by universities and research institutions in modern societies. The indigenous knowledge system of a local society covers a wide range of its member’s perceptions on universal phenomena occurring in their immediate environment and practices on every social, economic and cultural activities taking place within the society (Shengji, 1996).

Ethno-biologists play an important role in recording traditional knowledge before it’s disappears through cultural assimilation or environmental change. These records are important for their cultural value as well as for the ecological insight traditional knowledge provides into ecosystem functioning & resource management (Cunningham, 1996).

The term “indigenous knowledge” has many synonyms: indigenous technical knowledge (ITK), people’s science, indigenous agricultural knowledge (IAK), Local knowledge, traditional knowledge, ethnoscience and indigenous ecological knowledge (Ahmed, 1974).

Traditional knowledge may indeed complement scientific knowledge by providing practical experience in living within ecosystems not responding to ecosystem change (Pandey, 2001).

Traditional knowledge is vital for sustainability of natural resources, including forests, water and agro- ecosystems across landscape continuum spanning from households through farms, village, commons, and wilderness. The concept recognizes that the well-being of human society is closely related to the well being of natural ecosystems. The intellectual resources on which the sustainability science that draw on the collective intellectual resources of both formal sciences and local knowledge systems of knowledge (Pandey, 2001).

In India these systems can be classified in several ways:

  • Religious traditions: temple forests, monastery forests, sanctified, deified trees
  • Traditional tribal traditions: sacred groves, sacred forests, sacred trees
  • Royal traditions: royal hunting preserves, elephant forests, royal gardens etc
  • Livelihood traditions: forests and groves serving as cultural and social space and source of livelihood products.

In Bangladesh recent figures from the International Union of Conservation on Nature and Natural resources showed that only 6% of the country natural vegetation remains. With the natural resources of the country under such threat it is time indigenous knowledge was seen as valuable resources in development thinking before more it lost. Local people have lived with their environment and adapted to it over hundreds of years and know more about their life styles than those looking in from the outside over could. It would be foolish not to use this wealth of knowledge instigating development programmers. The need for the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in the development process to achieve sustainability is gaining recognition. Its importance in Bangladesh has not been overlooked and interest in indigenous knowledge is growing. (Sen et al, 2000)

Traditionally, most of the indigenous people of Bangladesh live in the forest regions of the country and made a living out fishing, herding, hunting and gathering and shifting cultivation. Traditional knowledge provides rules and regulation in conservation. But there is a gap in our knowledge about ethno-biological data and information although we have rich and diverse ethnic groups, hence the present study.

This research of various uses and conservation of animals may be identified for exploitation and scientific improvement.This will be helpful for state-economy. Traditional conservation practice is the main factor to protect bio-diversity. In our modern society, traditional cultures are disappearing at an increasing rate. As for example maximum ethnic peoples are being converted.

Traditional sal forest has now become the history. Available information suggest that currently only 10% of the 1,20,000 hectare sal forest in Dhaka, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Tangail, Dinajpur and Rajshahi districts are truly covered with sal trees. Most of the ethnic groups lived in the past in a subsistence economy, but a market economy emerged in the process of their integration into the mainstream society. Both external and internal factors had been responsible for such a shift in economy. The external factors are the imposition of external political control, settlement of non-tribal outsiders in the ethnic areas, external market forces, and so on and the internal factors are the adoption of wet rice cultivation, knowledge of the outside world, changes in property relations, introduction of modern education, changes in the attitude towards life, ideas of value, exploitation for money, importance of financial investment, return, and profit, and so on (Khaleque, 1998).

We are passing the crucial time to protect the wildlife and its environment. Biodiversity can be conserved only when people of the grass-root level participate and when strategies are formulated on the basis of an understanding of the indigenous, hence the present work.

So it is now necessary to know more information about indigenous knowledge which will help us to conserve the animals and to make conservation policy. But no work has yet been done .It would be a preliminary research work in the field of conservation biology.

Remote villages, border and forest areas of five districts Sherpur, Jamalpur, Tangail, Netrokona and Mymensingh were surveyed between November 2004 and November 2005 and informations were collected by participant observations and interviews of local people.  Ethnic groups are Mandi, Hajong, Banai, Barman, Rajbongshi, koch, Hodi, Dalu. All the documentation was taken to investigate how biodiversity is conserved by traditional knowledge and culture.

1.2. Review of literature

Indigenous knowledge (IK) means the functional knowledge of local people inhibiting in a particular ethno-cultural and agro-ecological condition. IK develops through experience sharing and normally passes on through generations by oral expressions and it operates in all aspects of community life and persists there in as unwritten form. Although it is often said that unwritten knowledge is vulnerable to being lost, local wisdom has a habit of persisting in the villages, old town, markets and other places where people continue to it into practice (Martin & Hoare, 1997).

The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) undertook one of the earliest extensive works on indigenous technological knowledge in Bangladesh. The book entitled Indigenous Agricultural Tools and Equipment of Bangladesh, published on 1982, describes the various agricultural tools traditional appliances that have been used and are still being used in many parts of the country. The book provides detailed descriptions of equipment including local names, size, mode of operations, and the materials romp which each is made. Recently, Choudhury et al (1996) compiled one of the most extensive works on indigenous technological knowledge, their nationwide study they reported on knowledge relating to cropping, seed preservation, and pest control and so on .Approximately two hundred different indigenous techniques and practices used in agriculture, fisheries and healthcare were documented.

Islam (1996) identifies a number of indigenous techniques that are still used in agriculture in the north-western part of the country particularly in Dinajpur district. He explores the relationship between farmers’ preferences for different indigenous technologies and the extent to which they are used. Of the indigenous techniques documented, 19% were used regularly and a further 46% were utilized only occasionally; the remaining 35% were rarely employed. It was also found that farmer’s ages, family size, farm size and family income were correlated with their use of identified technologies. Furthermore, media exposure related positively to farmer’ attitudes towards the use of indigenous technological knowledge.

In 1997 Bangladesh Academy of Agriculture (BAA) published a book entitled Indigenous Technologies of Agriculture in Bangladesh that includes information 147 of indigenous technologies used in agriculture. Practices relation to community production, harvest post-harvest operation in crops, animal’s forest and fisheries were documented. Efforts were also made to depict the background in which the technologies emerged and in which they are still being used today.

A study on indigenous Technology for watershed management by a group of researchers identified 52 local technologies and practices (Sharma, 1998). Most of the technologies were used for forest, water and soil conservation and intensive production systems. The tribal people residing in upland areas have employed such technologies to sustain their livelihoods for generations. The report contains descriptions of some of the tools used by upland people that differ in size, shape and function from those of plain land people. But technologies are being transferred from the upland people to the plain land people. It was also suggested that technologies being used today should in many cases be refined, revitalized and improved to effectively contribute to watershed management and improve productivity of local resources.

Ullah (1996) in his study Land, livelihood and change in rural Bangladesh documents aspects of the survival and livelihood strategies of small farmers in rural areas. He examines the dynamics of changes in land ownership patterns. Although not directly related to indigenous knowledge; this book is useful for gaining an understanding of the livelihood strategies of rural people.

In 1996 Unnayaner Bikalpa Nirdharani Gabeshana (Policy Research for Development Alternative) published a booklet on Nayakrishi Andolon (The new agricultural Movement) describing a recent initiative by peasants to innovate using indigenous technology. Farmers draw on indigenous knowledge to grow crops in an environmentally-friendly sustainable way.

Islam (1990) in Folk literature of Tangail Districts describes the seasonal rhythm and variation in the pattern of rural life over twelve months known as Baromashi. It includes a depiction of how traditional cropping patterns change over the year.

Ahmed (1974) records many such rhymes that describe how people traditionally cultivated their land their cropping patterns how seeds were selected and preserved and how people responded to natural event.

1.3. Aims and objectives

Bangladesh has for long been engaged in a variety of initiatives in Botanical and Zoological surveys. But it also needs to-

1)     Organize a conservation science that will aid in effective conservation action within the country.

2)     Involve a wide cross-section of taxonomists, ecologists, computer scientists and social scientists

3)     Develop conservation science as an effective device for involving masses of people in a scientific culture

4)     Encourage in Bangladesh development of conservation science related enterprises such as software for multiledia biodiversity data bases or chemicals for DNA fingerprinting.

This present documentation has done mainly based on following objectives-

  1. To find out the uses of different animals and plants used by the ethnic people for conservation purposes.
  2. To find out the local interests on target species
  3. To find out the local name and significance of animal and plant species.
  4. To find out the conservation value by ethnic people.


2.1. Bangladesh

Zoogeographically, Bangladesh is located at the interface between the Indian subregion and Malayan subregion of the oriental region, thus homing a very impressive, diverse and abundant wildlife. But with a small area of only 1,44,054 He has to support a human population of more than 90 million, which makes her one of the most densely populated country in the world. So it leaves very small room for the wildlife conservation and management activities. Among the varied habitats of Bangladesh are 8300 km sq of rivers, canals and streams; 1828 km. sq. of brackish water, 794 sq. km. of ponds and tanks and 2930 of wetlands which are the abode of wildlife.

The importence of local peoples participation in the development programmes is now being increasingly emphasized in the policy papers of both the govern ment of the less develop countries as well as by the foreign donor agencies that support the development programmes. Accordingly, the policy planners at both levels realized the need for including the ethnic communities in the development projects.

According to the census of 1991, the ethnic population of is 1.2 million, which constitutes 1.13% of the countrys total population and the name of the ethnic groups are mainly Bawm, Buna, Chakma, Garo, Hajong, Harijon, Khami, Khasi, Khayng, Koch, Lushai, Mahat, Manipuri, Marma, Meu, Murong, Munda, Oraon, Paharia, Pankho, Rajbongshi, Rakhine, Sak, Santal, Tanchagya, Tipra, Uraua, and others. They have a great role on conservation practice.

2.2. Study site

For the present study four districts have been selected (Table 1-4).

2.2.1. Land scape

Land and aqua region consisting of ecosystem characterized by recurring mutual adjustment on all times is considered as a land scape. To record the PBR resource areas have been classified into landscape elements. Land scape element means a small piece of land within the land scape but which is typical in appearance. These elements may belong to landscape types like tank, road, forest, habit etc.

Forest: Tangail forest division is about 67,960.26 acre. It includes Tangail, Mirzapur, Nagarpur, Basail, Kalihati, Ghatail, Gopalpur etc. In Mymensingh Acquired forest is 329.97 sq km and vested forest is 20.20 sq km. There are 3 forests in Mymensingh district. These are Joyashahi, Bhawal, and Susong. In Sherpur it is 86.33 sq km. In Netrokona the name of some forest area is Farangara, Gopalpur, Menkibanda, Bijoypur etc (Table-1, 2, 3, 4).

Plantation: Trees grown with commercial purposes are considered as plantations. These may be either in private land or in public land. Prominent trees are Sal (Shorea robusta), Ajuli (Dillenia pentagy), Kundi (Careya arborea), Keli kodombo (Adina arborea), Cham (Artocarpus chapalasha), Simul (Bombax ceiba), Aswatha (Ficus religiosa), Koroi (Albizia procera). Available planted trees are Aam (Mangifera indica), Kanthal (Artocarpus heterophylla), Tetul (Tamarindus indica) and Peyara (Psidium guava).

Paddy fields: Usually paddy is grown in horizontal and water logged planes. These are called paddy fields. According to 1987-1988 total paddy field in Mymensingh region is 11,56,000 acre. In Jamalpur district 752000 acre (1988-1989) area is under paddy field area.

Rivers: There are many rivers in the study area. These are Jamuna, Bongshi, Louhojong, Khir, Nangail, Atai, Jhinai, Kongso, Brahmaputra, Somaswari etc. Rivers provide the important influence on biodiversity.

Table 1. Different study site in Netrokona district





Forest area


Name of the study site


Name of the ethnic group




Farongpara forest area Menkifanda forest area Durgapur forest area Bijoypur forest area Boheratoli forest area Susang forest 

Mymensingh forest area












kalmakanda Lengor Mandi

Table 2. Different study site in Sherpur district

Thana Forest area Study Sites Ethnic Community


Rangtea forest range 

Mymensingh forest division















Jhenaigati Rangtea forest beat 

Gajni forest area

9. Rangtea 

Koch Para




Table 3. Different study site in Mymensing district

Thana Forest area Study sites community



Haluaghat forest beat







Dhubaura Monsapara 



Dafulia para



Table 4. Different study site in Tangail district




Forest area








Chunia forest beat

Madhupur forest beat

Chunia /Pirgacha /Thanarbaid/Taltola/ 

Hagurakuri/Jolchatra/Pirgacha koch para/Sainamari


Khotrio, Barman

2.2.2. Peoples scape

According to the source of DFO office of Mymensingh forest encroachment by local people is high (Table-5).

Table 5. Forest encroachment

District Total forest land (acre) Area under encroachment (acre)
Mumensingh 38,701.50 23,894.61
Jamalpur 10,364.39 2,380.27
Sherpur 19,469.68 1,693.58
Netrokona 1,824.68 92.80

According to an estimate of 1985, about 23,500 tribal people (21,500 Mandi and 2000 Koch) and 7000 non tribal live in the sal forest of Madhupur conducted by the Tangail forest division. Recently it is increasing (Table-6).

Table 6. Population status of study area

No. of families Total population
Tribal 2,195 11,830
Non-tribal 6,014 37,910
Total 8,209 49,740

Biodiversity based user groups

User groups: The society uses the natural resources in various ways. For all these there are sub groups depend on natural resources. These sub-groups usually utilize similar natural resources. So people belonging to these sub groups are collectively called user groups of that particular natural resource. Basically these sub groups are classified on the basis of their occupation and caste. So people belonging particular religions utilize easily available natural resources for there livelihood and they called as user groups (Table-7 and 8).

There are two types of user groups –

1) Direct user group: User groups which have directly relation with biodiversity. It includes primary user groups and secondary user groups.

2) Indirect user group: User groups which don’t have direct relation with the user groups

A. Primary user groups: User groups which have direct relation with biodiversity are called primary user groups.

Farmers: Agriculture is the prime occupation of majority of the villagers. Due to the frequent interruptions in electricity supply, demand for water is not able to be met for agriculture. This statement is supported by the farmers owing electric pump sets. Although traditional paddy seeds are disease resistant, because of low yield, farmers prefer the use of hybrid seed varieties.

Basket weavers: Peoples of koch are engaged in these occupations. Basket weaving is the only source of their livelihood for some people. Whereas some others take up this work only in the absence of agricultural activities.

B. Secondary user groups

Animal husbandry: In surveyed villages, many ethnic people are engaged with animal husbandry. They rear one or two cattle or boar for their subsistence.

Rubber Planters: Many of the ethnic people are engaged in rubber plantation.

C. Tertiary user groups

Users groups who are not directly related with biodiversity are tertiary user groups. They are agricultural labourers, traders, teachers etc.

Table 7. Population status of indigenous people of studied area

Ethnic groups Name of districts
Mandi Mymensingh,Tangail,Sherpur,Netroona
Hajong Mymensingh,Sherpur,Netrokona
Koch Mymensingh,Sherpur,Tangail,Netrokona
Banai Mymensingh,Sherpur,Jamalpur
Dalu Mymensingh,Sherpur,Jamalpur
Khatrio-Barman Sherpur, Tangail
Rajbonshi Mymensingh,Sherpur
Hodi Sherpur

Source: Annual Report.2005.Tribal welfare assossiation, Mymensingh.

Table 8. Peoples’ scape

Name of Thana Govt. employer Non-govt. employers No. of non workers No. of graduate No. of educated No. of landless No. of peoples
Durgapur 200 750 2200 274 90% 7,700 11,124
Dhubaura 61 211 828 39 66% 1374 12,159
Haluaghat 500 7500 2000 1100 90% 10,000 20,000
Nakla 5 15 80 10 50% 60 5,500
Sherpur sadar 5 12 30 3 15% 95 2570
Baksiganj 1 7 22 10% 43 1500
Jamalpur sadar 4 1 70% 100 8385
Modhupur 12 1050 1200 37 80% 1500 20,000
Gouripur 10 525 4185 15 30% 1025 14,735
Tarakanda 8 15 1500 34 25% 60 2495
Muktagacha 7 80 17 5 65% 204 1458

Source: Annual Report.2005.Tribal welfare assossiation, Mymensingh.

Short description of ethnic groups

Garo (Mandi): In Bangladesh, the word they use for themselves is ‘Mandi. In its most general sense, this simply means “Person’ or people. But it can also convey the more specific meaning of a member of their own ethnic group (Burling, 1993).

Settlement: At least three quarters of the Mandis of Bangladesh live in the northern, most part of Mymensingh district, within a few kilometers of the Indian border. Smaller settlements of Mandis are found in other parts of Bangladesh. Between 15000 and 20,000 live in the area where Madhupur forest once grew about half way between the cities of Mymensingh and Tangail Smaller cluster of Mandis live near Bhaluka between Dhaka and Mymensingh.

Occupation: Mandis who lived in this elevated area farmed it periodically by shifting cultivation or Jumming. Mandis have been traditionally skilled at this form of agricultural practice.

Language: The Mandi language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family. This means that it is distantly related to Tibetan and Burmese and even more distantly to Chinese. The languages that most closely resemble Mandi form a subgroup of Tibeto-Burman known as the ‘Bodo’ language. The Mandi language thus has an entirely different background from Bengali and Assamese (Burling, 1986).

Religion: The older Mandi religion was called ‘Sangsarek” and a few people still perform some of its traditional ceremonies. They sacrifice of an animal, sometimes a chicken or goat, occasionally even a cow. Several sacrifices celebrated important point of the agricultural cycle, and these were large community festivals accompanied by music, dancing and a considerable amount of rice beer.

Mandis have turned to Christianity. Most Mandis are either Roman Catholics or Baptists. Some Mandis are also Hindu. Wangala, Mi’Amua, Rongchugala are their main   ceremonies (Jambil, 1986).

Koch: The Koch with the title Barman are sometimes known as Mandai.The Koch were one of the groups of those southeast Asian peoples who belonged to the earliest waves of immigrants to the north eastern part of the Indian Subcontinent.

Religion and culture: Koch is Hindu by religion. They worship different Hindu deities. Besides they give offerings to the homestead goddess and have different monthly Pujas. After the Neelpuja in Chaitra (March-April), in the charak festival men dress up as Shiva and his followers and dance in the cremation ground. Koch has their traditional Garampuja, Nagini oai, Sena oai, Nikni oai, Longtheng oai etc (Mural, 1999).

Settlement: Koch is mainly distributed in Sherpur, Jamalpur, Mymensingh, Gazipur, Tangail, Sunamganj.

Occupation: Koch people mainly depend on agriculture.


Appearance and physique: Indo-mongoloid

Population: 300

Religion and culture: They are the same as Hajong in culture. But Dalu is different ethnic group. They are animist, Hindu (Devoted to Shiva)

Language: Linguistically Tibeto-Burmese family. But now their language is Bengali.

Festivals: Zaitra, Hoydeb, Path khowri.


Appearance and physique: They are the same as Mandi, Hajong, Koch i.e. Indo-mongoloid (Hajong, 2002).

Distribution: Sherpur

Population: 4000-5000

Religion and culture: They are animist, Hindu.

Language: Their language is now Bengali.

Festival: Gram worship.

Banai: Physique and appearance: Indo-mongoloid.

Distribution: Sherpur, Sylhet.

Religion and culture: Animist Gitalu Baromasi gan.They live 40/50 family per village. This is called Gao bura (Sarker, 2002).

Language: They have their own language largely similar to Bangali or Aohomia.

Festivals: chang puja.


Appearance and physique: Indo-mongoloid.

Religion and culture: Animism, Hindu and they have some divination between religion i.e.Shaiva, Shakto Bisnoi etc. Bastu worship, Pushni, Chait hongrani, Merr, Charmuga, Thaba, Hilljaga, Bantula etc are their main religious ceremonies (Hajong, 2001).

Distribution: Mymensingh, Netrokona, Sherpur (Table-9)

Language: They have their own Language but no script.It is mixture of Assamese and Bengali language.

Occupation: Settled agriculture Weaving Bussines, Job etc

Table 9. Distribution of ethnic communities

Ethnic community Population
Garo (Mandi) 64,280
Hajong 11,540
Koch 16567
Rajbongshi 7556

Source: Census Report, 1991


The study is based on both primary and secondary sources of data. The secondary data was collected from literatures, visual media and others. The primary survey was conducted using questionnaire method through formal and informal discussions.

The research has been conducted through an intensive fieldwork i.e. more specifically participant observation (Chambers, 1987; Gujit and Cornwall, 1995). I stayed a reasonable number of days in different villages with different ethnic groups.

Detailed interviews were conducted with households for detailed assessment of natural resource use pattern and conservation.

The method used in the present study is as follows:

1. Primary data collection: Mainly the head of the family, his profession, details of the use of plants and animal species and ethnobiological knowledge were recorded in this study. This was done by the participation of local people .On the basis of the primary data field visits, interviews and group discussions were planned.

2. Field visits: Field visits became essential to study the diversities, which reflect the peculiarities of the sacred groves.

3. Group discussion: The data collected from individuals and families were discussed and verified through group discussions. The new aspects from the group discussions were recorded. The user groups which are commonly seen in villages, like farmers, agricultural labourers were separately meet with. Their conditions problems, management options, endangered species, the species which are in use, the present and future conditions of the species were discussed.

4. Case study: To document the sacred groves case study method is applied.

Interviews were also recorded in a tape recorder. In addition with interview, photograph was also taken for documentation.

Study was conducted in five districts namely Sherpur, Jamalpur, Netrokona, Tangail, Mymensingh.

Key informer was selected by asking local people.

Socio-cultural profile of the people was recorded for the assessment of natural resource management by ethnic community (Table-10).

Table 10. Ethnic community of study area

Sherpur Koch, Hodi, Rajbongshi, Hajong, Mandi
Jamalpur Hajong
Netrokona Mandi, Hajong
Tangail Mandi, khatrio Barman
Mymensingh Hajong, Mandi, Banai

Source: Annual Report 2005.Tribal Welfare assossiation, Mymensingh.


4.1. Overall Documentation

Present documentation has been performed upon 8 ethnic communities of the 33 different sites belonging to 7 thanas under 4 districts. During these documentation, 67 different animal used for the purpose of conservation (Amphibia:1, Reptiles:13, Birds:30, Mammals:23), 85 different plant used for the purpose of conservation (Plant uses as taboo:6, Plant uses as farming:14, Plant uses as royal traditions: 3, Plant uses as medicine:24 and Plant uses as totem:19) has been identified. Only the important using which has a great role on conservation has been emphasized. 67 different animal use pattern involving royal tradition: 2, taboo: 11, farming: 13, totem: 21 and medicinal use: 35 also has been recorded.

13 sacred groves have been documented in 33 different sites. In these sacred groves only the dominant species are identified. The number of identified animal species is 29 (Amphibia: 1, Reptiles: 5, Birds: 20, Mammals: 3)and plant species is 32.

4.2. Documentation of animal use for the conservation purpose by different ethnic communities

4.2.1. Documentation of animal use for the conservation purpose by Mandi communities

The present documentation in Durgapur, Kalmakanda of Netrokona district, Nalitabari of Sherpur district, Haluaghat, Dhubaura and Madhupur of Tangail district on Mandi community shows that they use 6 species of reptiles, 6 species of birds and 8 species of mammals for conservation purpose.

Naja Kauthia (Lesson, 1831): Family: Elaphidae, Order: Serpentes, Local Name: Gokhra, English Name: Bengal Cobra, Use: Liver is used as medicine for pain, Location: Gajni

Coluber nigromarginatus (Blyth, 1854): Family: Colubridae, Order: serpents, Local Name: Daraj, English Name: Green rat snake Use: Meat is used as medicine, Location: Gajni

Python molorus (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Boidae, Order: Serpentes, Local Name: Ajagar, English Name: Rock Python, Use: Brain and Liver are used differently for energy and antipoison, Location: Gajni

Varanus bengalensis (Daudin, 1802): Family: Varanidae, Order: Lacertilia, Bengali Name: Gui shap, English Name: Bengal monitor, Use: oil for skin disease Location: Thanarbait

Crocodylus porosus (Schneineider, 1801): Family: Crocodylidae, Order: Crocodylia, English Name: Croocdile, Bengali Name: Lonapanir kumir, Use: egg is used to protect pox, Location: Hagurakuri

Hemidactylus flaviviridis (Ruppel, 1840) and Hemidactylus frenatus (Dumeril & Bibron 1837): Family: Geckonidae, Order: Lacertilia, English Name: Common House lizard, Bengali Name: Tiktiki, Use: Tali is used to prevent emaciated, location: Chunia.

Gallus gallus (Linnaeus): Family: Phaianidae, Order: Galliformes, Bengali Name: Bon Morog, Local Name: Du, English Name: Red jungle fowl Use: Use for madding and Sacrifice to CHURABUDI, MISISALJONG and maximum festivals, Location: Thanarbait

Cervus macrohynchus (Wagler): Family: Corvidae, Order: Passeriformes, Bengali Name: Danr kak, English Name: Jungle crow, Use: Liver and meat use to pick quarrel, Loaction: Thanarbait.

Sarcogyps calvus (Scopoli, 1786): Family: Accipitridae, Order: Ciconiformes, Bengali Name: Raj Shakun, English Name: Red headed Vulture, Local Name:

Shagan, Use: to protect skin disease eating its meat Location: Chunia.

Pavo muticus (Linnaeus): Family: Phasinidae, Order: Galliformes, English Name: Pea-coack, Bengali Name: Bormi Mayur, Lacal Name: Julma, Use: Symbol of goddess (Julma mitti) Location: Chunia.

Columba punica (Blyth, 1842): Local Name: Doh-khru-sua, Bengali Name: Pahari ghughu, English Name: Pied capped pigeon, Family: Columbidae, Order: Columbiformes, Use: Doh-khru-sua, dancing like pied capped pigeon.

Gracula religiosa (Linnaeus): Family: sturnidae, Order: Passeriformes, Local Name: Moyna, English Name: Hill Moyna, Use: believe that she is the spirit of Mandi daughter.

Rousettus Leschenauti (Desmarest, 1820): Family: Pteropidae, Order: Chiropptera, Bengali name: Kola badur, English Name: Fulvous fruit bat, Use: liver is used for Ashtma, Location: Thanrbait.

Capricornis sumatrensis (Bechstein, 1799): Family: Bovidae, Order: Artiodactyla, English Name: Serow, Bengali Name: Chagal, Use: Sacrifice to TATARA-RABUGA (GOD) Location: Chunia.

Elephas maximus (Linnaeus 1758): Family: Elaphantidae, Order: Proboscidae, English Name: Elephant Use: symbol of Goddess (Aatisela mitti), Location: Chunia.

Felis chaus (Gulden Staedt,1776): Family: Felidae, Order: Carnivora, Bengali Name: Ban Biral,  English Name: Jungle Cat, Loacl Name: Mangam, Use: Symbol of goddess (Mengam mitti),Location: Chunia.

Vulpes bengalensis (Shaw, 1800): Family: Canidae, Order: carnivore, English Name: Bengal fox, Bengali Name: Khek shial, Local Name: Sebal, Use: Symbol of

Goddess (Sebal mitti), Location: Chunia.

Macaca mulatta (Zimmermann, 1780): Local Name: Banor, English Name: Rhesus Macaque, Family: Cercopithecidae, Order: Primates, Use: Chambill Missa (Dancing like Rhesus macaque).

Pteropus giganteus (Brunnich, 1782): Family: Pteropodidae, Order: Chiroptera, Local name: Badur, English Name: Indian Flying fox, Use: Meat is used as food for Rheumatic fever, Location: Gajni.

Sus scrofa (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Suidae, Order: Artiodactyla, Local Name: Buno shukar, English Name: Wild Boar, Use: Oil is used for rheumatic fever and sacrifice to SUSUMI-SALJONG, location: Thanarbait

Panthera tigris (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Felidae, Order: Carnivora, Local Name: Machak, Bengali name: Bagh, English Name: Bengal tiger, Use: Oil is used for Rheumatic fever, Loaction: Thanarbait

4.2.2. Documentation of animal use for the conservation purpose by Khatrio Barman community

The present documentation in Pirgacha of Madhupur in Tangail district on Khatrio Barman shows that they use 1 species of amphibian, 1 species of birds, 2 species of reptiles and 5 species of mammals for conservation purpose.

Bufo melanostictus (Schneider, 1799): Family: Bufonidae, Order: Anura, Bengali Name: Kuno bang, English Name: Common toad, Use: Meat is used for gastric, Location: Pirgacha

Kachuga smithii (Gray, 1863): Family: Bataguridae, Order: Testudines, Bengali Name: Kasim, English name: Red-crowned roofed turtle, Use: Meat is for dysentery, Location: Pirgacha

Herpestes auropunctatus (Hodgson, 1836): Family: Herpestidae, Oreder: Carnivora, Bengali name: Benji, English Name: Small Indian mongoose, use: Meat is use for Asthma, Location: Pirgacha

Eudynamys scolopacea (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Centropodidae, order: Cuculiformes, Local Name: Kokil, English Name: Asian Cuckoo, Use: meat is use for kala-jar, Location: Pirgacha.

Canis aureus (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Canidae, Order: Carnivora, Bengali Name: Shial, English Name: Jackel, Use: Use bone to prevent insect attacking cow and Goat, Meat is use for Rheumatic fever, Location: Pirgacha.

Megadfrma lyra (Geoffroy, 1810): Family: Megadermatidae, Order: Chiroptera, Bengali Name: Badur, English Name: Indian false vampire, Use: Liver is use for Asthma, Location: Pirgacha.

Cuon alpinus (Pallas, 1811): Family: Canidae, Order:  carnivore, Bengali Name: Ram kutta, English Name: Indian wild dog, Use: Meat is use for ulcer, Location: Pirgacha

Macaca mulatta (Zimmermann, 1780): Family: Cercopithecidae, Order: Primates, Bengali Name: Banar, English Name: Rhesus macaque, Use: Meat is use for

Asthma, Location: Pirgacha.

Rattus rattus (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Muridae, Order: Rodentia, Local Name: Indur, English Name: Common house rat, Use: Meat is use for stomach pain, Location: Pirgacha.

4.2.3. Documentation of animal use for the conservation purpose by Koch community

The present documentation in Nalitabari and Jhenaigati of Sherpur district on Koch community shows that they use 5 species of reptiles, 6 species of birds and 6 species of mammals for conservation purpose.

Manouria emys (Schlegel &Muller, 1840): Family: Testudinidae, Order: Testudines, Bengali Name: Pahari Kasim, English Name: Asian Giant tortoise, Use: Head is use for costiveness, Loaction: Kholchonda.

Varanus bengelensis (Daudin, 1802): Family: Varanidae, Order: Lacertilia, Bengali Name: Gui shap, English Name: Bengal Monitor, Use: Oil is use for fiery skin, Location: Kholchonda.

Varanus salvator (Laurenti, 1768): Family: Varaniade, Order; Lacertilia, Bengali Name; Kalo Gui, English Name: Ring Lizard, Use: meat is use for rheumatic fever, Location: Kholchonda.

Geoclemys hamiltonii (Gray, 1813): Family: Bataguridae, Order: Testudines, English Name: Black Pond turtle, Bengali Name: Kalo Kasim, Use: Bastu worship, Location: Pirgacha.

Crocodylus porosus (Schneider, 1801): Family: Crocodylidae, Order: Crocodylia, English Name: Saltwater Crocodile, Bengali Name: Lonapanir Kumir, Use: Bastu worship.

Gallus gallus (Linnaeus): Family: Phasinidae, Order: Galliformes, Bengali Name: Bon Morog, Local Name: Tao, Use: Food, Location: Samoschura

Sarcogyps calvus (Scopoli, 1786): Family: Accipitridae, Order: Ciconiformes, Bengali Name: Raj Shakun, English Name: Red-headed vulture, Use: use against evil spirit, Location: Smoschura.

Pavo muticus (Linnaeus):Family: Phasianidae, Order: Galliformes, Bengali Name: Bormi Mayur, English Name: Green Pea fowl, Use: use as amulet, tetanus and food, Location: Kohlchonda.

Phalacrocorax carbo (Linnaeus): Family: Phalacrocoracidae, Order: Ciconiformes, Bengali Name: Paan-Kawri, English Name: Great Cormorant, Use: Meat is use for rheumatic fever and pain, Location: Kholchonda.

Caprimulgus asiaticus (Latham, 1709): Family: Caprimulgidae, Order: Strigiformes, Bengali name: Choto Ratchara, English Name: Indian night jar, Use: feacal is use for paralysis, location: Kholchonda.

Columba livia (Gmelin): Family: Columbidae, Order: Columbiformes, English Name: Rock Pigeon, Bengali Name: Jalali Kabutor, Use: Jatra mukut worship.

Capricornis sumatrensis (Bechstein, 1799): Family: Bovidae, Order: Artiodactyla, Bengali Name: Ban Chagal, English Name: Mainland serow, Local name: Purun, Use: Food, location: Somoschura

Sus scrofa (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Suidae, Order: Artiodactyla, Bengali Name: Buno shukar, English Name: Wild boar, Local Name: Oak, Use: Food, Location: Rangtia.

Felis chaus (Guldenstaedt, 1776): Family: Felidae, Order: Carnivora, Bengali Name: Ban Biral, English Name: Jungle Cat, Use: Saliva is use for Hysteria, Location: Rangtia.

Elephas maximus (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Elephantidae, Order: Proboscidae, Bengali Name: Hati, English Name: Indian Elephant Use: Saliva Use for Hysteria, Location: Kholchonda.

Muntiacus muntjak (Zimmermann, 1780): Family: Cervidae, Order: Artiodactyla, Bengali Name: Maya Harin, English Name: Barking Deer, Use: Larva is use for hysteria, Location: Kholchonda.

Panthera tigris (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Felidae, Order: Carnivora, Bengali Name: Bagh, English Name: tiger, Use: oil is use for amulet and paralysis, Location: Kholchonda.

4.2.4. Documentation of animal use for the conservation purpose by Hajong community

The present documentation in Durgapur of Netrokona, Nalitabari and Jheanigati of Sherpur, Dhubaura of Mymensingh district shows that they use 2 species of birds and 2 species of mammals for conservation purpose.

Anser indicus (Latham, 1790): Family: Anatidae, Order: Anseriformes, Bengali Name:

Raj Hans, English Name: Bar-headed goose, Use: Nikni dao worship, Location: Langoljora

Oriolus xanthormus (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Corvidae, Order: Passeriformes, Local Name: Holdey Pakhi, English Name: Black headed oriole, Use: Social believe as son Hajong farmer.

Elephas maximus (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Elaphantidae, Order: Proboscidae, English Name: Asian Elephant, Local name: Hati, Use: Hoyrgib worship

Capricornis sumatraensis (Bechstein, 1799): Family: Bovidae, Order: Artiodactyla, Bengali Name: Ban Chagal, English Name: Serow, Use: Muila worship, Location: Langoljora

.4.2.5.Documentation of animal use for the conservation purpose by Dalu people

The present documentation in Nalitabari of Sherpur district, Haluaghat of Mymensingh, Madhupur of Tangail district on Dalu community shows that they use 4 species of birds and 1 species of mammal for conservation purpose.

Sus scrofa (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Suidae, Order: Atriodactyla, English Name: Wild boar, Bengali Name: Buno Shukar, use: social taboo, not use as food.

Corvus spledens (Vieillot, 1817): Family: Corvidae, Order: Passeriformes, Local Name: Kaua English Name: House Corw, use: social Taboo, not use as food.

Pavo muticus (Linnaeus): Family: Phasianidae, Order: Galliformes, Local Name: Bormi mayur, English Name: Green Pea-fowl, use: social taboo, not use as food.

Gallus gallus (Linnaeus): Family: Phasianidae, Order: Galliformes, English Name: Red jungle fowl, Local Name: Bon morog, use: social Taboo, not use as food.

Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus, 1766): Family: Sturnidae, Order: Passeriformes, Bengali name: Bhat shalikh, English name: Common moyna, use: social Taboo, not use as food.

4.2.6. Documentation of animal use for the conservation purpose by Hodi people

The present documentation in Nalitabari of Sherpur district on Hodi community shows that they 5 species of birds for conservation purpose.

Buceros bicornis (Linnaeus1758): English Name: Great Hornbill, local Name: Raj Dhanesh, Family: Bucerotidae, Order: Bucerotiformes, Use: symbol of deities.

Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus, 1766): Family: Sturnidae, Order: Passeriformes, English Name: Common Myna, Bengali Name: Bhat Shalikh, Use: symbol of deities.

Acridotheres fuscus (Wagler, 1827): Family: Sturnidae, Order: Passeriformes, English Name: Jungle Myna, Local Name: Jhuti Shalikh, Use: symbol of deities.

Appus afinis (J.E.grey, 1830): Family: Apodidae, Order: Apodiformes, Local name: Ababil, English Name: House swift, Use: symbol of deities.

Athene brama (Temminck): Family: Strigidae, Order: Strigiformes, English Name: Spotted owlet, Local Name: Khuruly pencha,

Use: symbol of deities.

4.2.7. Documentation of animal use for the conservation purpose by Banai people

The present documentation in Haluaghat of Mymensingh district on Banai community shows that they use 5 species of birds for conservation purpose.

Bubulcus ibis (Linnaeus): English name: Cattle egret, Family: Ardeidae, Order: Ciconiformes, Local Name: Go-bok, Use: Use: symbol of deities.

Capromulgus asiaticus (Latham, 1790): Family: Caprimulgidae, Order: Strigiformes, Bengali name: Choto Rartchara, English name: Indian nightjar, Use: social taboo, not use as food

Centropus sinensis (Stephen, 1815): Family: Centropodidae, Order: Cuculiformes, English Name: Greater coucal, Bengali Name: Kanakua, Use: social taboo, not use as food

4.2.8. Documentation of animal use for the conservation purpose by Rajbongshi

Copsychus saularis (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Muscicapidae, Order: Passeriformes, Local Name: Doel, English Name: Oriental magpie robin, Use: social taboo, not use as food

Coracias bengalensis (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Coracidae, Order: Coraciformes, English Name: Indian roller, Bengali Name: Nilkantha, Use: social taboo, not use as food

4.3. Documentation of plant use for the conservation purpose by different ethnic communities

4.3.1. Documentation of plant use for the conservation purpose by Mandi people

Acorus calamus (L.): Family: Araceae Use: Leaf juice is used through for children in baw-batsi.

Borassus   flabellifer (L.): Family: Arecareae, Uses: Leaves are used in the religious worship Jolkuri meddi

Drynaria quercifolia (L.): Family: Polypodiaceae, Uses: Rhizome paste is used for children against the harmful effects of evil spirit

Ficus bengalensis (L.): Family: Moraceae, Use: Worship ingredients

Ficus religiosa (L.): Family: Moraceae, Use: Worship ingredients

Saccharum spontaneum (L.): Family: Poaceae, Uses: Stems are used in the religious worship Bagoba-borombi

Vigna sinensis: Family: Leguminosae, Uses: this plant is the clans’ totem of nokrek in Mandi society.

Terminalia chebula: Family: Combretaceae, Use: Dried fruits are used in liver pain and fever.

Xeromphis spinosa (Thumb,): Family: Rubiceae, Uses: Ripe fruits are edible.

Steudnera virosa: Family: Araceae, Family: Tuber paste is used for headache and fructuerd bones.

Musa balbisiana: Family: Musaceae, Use: Fruits are edible.

4.3.2. Documentation of plant use for the conservation purpose by Khatrio Barman people

Asparagus racamosus (L.): Family: Liliaceae Uses: Root juice is used for increase sperm count.

Cajanus cajan (L.): Family: Leguminosae, Use: Fresh leaf juice is mixed with sugar and in Jaundice.

Mimosa pudica (L.): Family: Leguminosae, Use: Dried rot tied on the arm in the treatment of womans fertility.

Nymphaea nouchalli: Family: Nymphaeceae, Use: Menstruation problem.

Shorea robusta: Family: Dipterocarpaceae, Use: Stem bark is used for as a dye.

Diospyros Montana: Family: Ebenaceae, Use: Worship ingredients

Colocasia esculenta (L.): Family: Araceae, Use: Worship ingredients

Aegle marmelos (L.): Family: Rutaceae,. Use: Worship ingredients

Madhuca longifolia: Family: Sapotaceae, Use: Worship ingredients

Hibiscus rosasinensis (L.): Family: Malvaceae Use: Worship ingredients

Artcarpus integrifolia (L.): Family: Moraceae, Use: Fruits are edible.

Citrus grandis (L.): Family: Rutaceae, Use: Fruits are edible.

Anona squamosa (L.): Family: Annonaceaae Use: Fruits are edible.

Melia azadirachat (L.): Use: Worship ingredients

4.3.3. Documentation of plnt use for the conservation purpose by koch people

Jatropha curcas (L.): Family: Euphorbiaceae, Uses: The stem of plant is used in a religious worship named Hodom wai.

Kaempferia galangal (L.): Family: Zingiberaceae, Uses: The paste of rhizome is used to protect children from evil spirit.

Ocimum maericanum (L.): Family: Lamiaceae, Use: Worship ingredients

Blumea sp: Family: Asteraceae, Uses: Fresh part of leave is used to protect children from evil spirit.

Albizia procera Benth: Family: Leguminosae Uses: The stem bark is used for making black dye.

Acacia sp.: Family: Leguminosae, Uses: Leaves use for cough and cold.

Anthocephalus chinensis (Lam.): Family: Rubiaceae, Uses: Young twig past is used in headache.

Bambusa vulgaris: Family: Poaceae, Uses: Young twigs and leaves are used as vegetables.

Dipterocarpus costatus Gaetri: Family: Dipterocarpaceae, Use: Worship ingredients

Mangifera indica (L.): Family: Anacardiaceae, Use: Worship ingredients

4.3.4. Documentation of plant use for the conservation purpose by Hajong people

Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. : Family: leguminosae, Uses: Red flowers are used for the religious worship Balihata puja

Bombax ceiba (L.): Family: Bombaacceae, Use: religious worship balihata puja.

Calamus guruba Ham.: Family: Arecaceae, Uses: The leaflet tied some where inside the home to drive out evil spirit

Drynaria quercifolia (L.): Famly: Drynariaceae, Uses: The frond tied somewhere inside the house to drive out evil spirits.

Erianthus rivannae (L.): Family: Poaceae, Uses: Stem are used as tip which is tied somewhere inside the houxse to driev out evil spirits of wind.

Musa sapientum: Family: Musaceae Uses: The ripe fruite is used for the religious worship Hailla dao

Citrus aurantifolia: Family: Rutaceae, Uses: leaves are used for stomach pain

Tamarindus indica (L.): Family: Leguminosae, Use seed powder is used in diabetes.

Cinnamomum tamala: Family: Lauraceae, Use: Juice is used for jaundice.

Centella asiatica (L.): Family: Umbelliferae, Use: Roasted leaves are used in jaundice.

Mangifera indica (L.): Family: Anacardiaceae, Uses: Fruits are edible

Cocos nucifera (L.): Family: Aracaceae, Uses: Fruts are edible.

4.3.5. Documentation of plant use for the conservation purpose by Dalu people

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (L.): Family: Malvacae, Local name: Joba, Uses: Fresh flower juice is mixed with coconut oil and is used as hair dye.

Mimosa pudica (L.): Family: Mimosaceae, Uses: Rest pest is use for inflammation of testis

Ocimum sanctum (L.): Lamiaceae, Uses: Fresh leaf juice is used for cough and cold

Psidium guava (L.): Family: Myrtaceae, Uses: Young twig paste is mixed with salt and use for dysentery

Syzygium jambos (L.): Family: Myrtaceae, Uses: Young twig juice is used for liver pain

Tamarindus indica (L.): Family: Leguminosae, Uses: Ripe fruit is used for jaundice

Shorea robusta: Family: Diptercarpaceae, Uses: The decoction of young laves is used externally for gonorrhea.

Madhuca latifolia: Family: Sapotaceae, Uses: The seed oil is used for fungal skin disease.

Asparagus recemosus (L.): Family: Liliaceae, Uses: Root paste is used for increasing the secretion of milk in lactating more.

Centella asiaticus (L.): Family: Umbellifereae, Uses: leaf juice is used for the inflammation of eye.

Nymphaea nouchali: Family: Nymphacaea, Uses: The dried rhizome powder is used for dysentery and dyspepsia.

Oxalis cornbivulata (L.): Family: Oxalidaceae, Uses: Fresh juice of the whole plant is used for curing cough and headache.

Ficus religiosa (L.): Local name: Aswatha, Family: Moraceae, Uses: worship ingredients

4.3.6. Documentation of plant use for the conservation purpose by Hodi people

Albizia lebbeck (L.): Family: Leguminosae, local Name: Shirish, Uses: Leaf juice is use for dysentery.

Colocasia esculenta (L.): Family: Araceae, Uses: Leaf juice is use for green dye

Piper betel (L.): Family: Piperaceae, Uses: Use as common chewing material.

Saccharum spontaneum (L.): Family: Poaceae, Uses: The lower part of the stem juice is use for testis

Amaranthus spinosus (L.): Family: Amaranthaceae, Uses: Young leaves are use as vegetable.

Artocarpus chapalasha: Family: Moraecae, Use: Ripe fruite are edibles

Artocarups heterophyllus: Family: Moraceae, use: worship

Cassia sophera (L.): Family: Leguminosae, uses: Root juice is used externally on the limb during ischemia.

Cocos nucifera (L.): Family: Araceae, Uses: Worship ingredients

Ficus infectorial (L.): Family: Moraceae, Use: Worship ingredients

Melia azadirachta (L.): Use: Worship ingredients

Oryza sativa (L.): Use: Worship ingredients

Cynodon dactylon (Pers.): Use: Worship ingredients

Ocimum sanctum (L.): Family: Lamiaceae, Use: Worship ingredients

Tagotes patula (L.): Use: Worship ingredients

4.3.7. Documentation of plant use for the conservation purpose by Banai community

Artocarpus chaplasha: Family: Moraceae, Uses: Ripe fruits are edible.

Centella asiatica: Family; Umbellifereae, Uses: Prevent stomach pain.

Citrus grndis (L.): Family: Rutaceae, Use: Edible fruits.

Persicaria lanatum: Family: Polygonaceae, Use: Leaf past is for wounds and cuts.

Nymphaea nouchali: Family: Rhizome is used for piles

Musa balbisiana; Family: Musaceae Use: Worship ingredients

4.3.8. Documentation of plant use for the conservation purpose by Rajbongshi

Oxalis corniculata (L.): Family: Oxalidaceae, Use: Common favourite leafy vegetables

Saraca indica (L.): Family: Legfuminosae, Use: Seed powder use for diabetes.

Butea frondosa: Family: Leguminosae, Use: Worship ingredients

Melia azadirachta (L.): Use: Worship ingredients

4.4. Documented dominant animal species in different sacred groves

13 sacred groves are recorded. 5 sacred groves in Chunia,2 sacred groves in Hagurakuri, and 1 in Langoljora, 1 in Sagordighi, 1in Guptabrindabon, 1 in Pirgacha, 1 in Kakorkandi, 1 in Thanarbait. In these sacred groves, 1 species of amphibia, 3 species of reptiles, 20 species of birds and 2 species of mammals are documented. These are as follows:

Bufo melanostictus (Schneider, 1799): Family: Bufonidae, Order: Anura, English Name: Common toad, Local name: Kuno-bang.

Calotes versicolor (Daudin 1802): English Name: White breasted kingfisher, Local Name: Chiruru, Bengali Name: Rokto chusa

Varanus bengalensis (Daudin, 1802): Family: Varanidae, Order: Lacertilia, English Name: Bengal monitor, Bengali Name: Gui shap, Local name: Makru.

Varanus flavescens (Herdwicke andgray, 1827): Family: Varaniade, Order: Lacertilia, English Name; Yellow monitor, Local name: Shonagui.

Corvus splendens (Vieillot, 1817): Family: Corvidae, Order: Passeriformes, Local name: Dukhua, Bengali Name: pati kaak, English Name: House Crow.

Merops orientalis (Latham, 1801): Family: Meropidae, Order: Coraciformes, Local name: Durangden, Bengali Name: Sui-chora, English Name: Greenbee-eater.

Casmerodius albus (Linnaeus, 1758): Local name: Geuk, Family: Ardeidae, Order: Ciconoformes, English name: Great egret, Bengali Name: Sada-bok.

Streptoeplia chinensis (Scopoli): Family: Columbidae, Order: Columbiformes, English Name: Spotted Dove, Bengali Name: Tila ghughu

Halcyon smyrnensis (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Alcedinidae, Order: Coracifo ame: Dusenam.

Varanus bengalensis (Daudin, 1802): Family: Varanidae, Order: Lacertilia, English Name: Bengal monitor, Bengali Name: Gui shap, Local name: Makru.

Atherurus maccccrousus (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Hystricidae, Order: Rodentia, Local Name: Matmachi, Bengali Name: Shojaru, English name: Brush tailed porcupine

Pycnonatus cafer (Linnaeus1766): Family: Pycnotidae, Order: Passeriformes, English name: Red-vented bulbul, Local Name: Sifrat.

Mabuya carinata (Schneider, 1801): Family: Scinidae, Order: Lacertilia, English Name; Common skink, Local Name: Ajoni.

Gekko gecko (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Gekkonidae, Order: Lacertilia, English Name; Wall lizard, Local Name: Takhak.

Dinomum benghalens (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Picidae, Order: Piciformes, English Name: Black rumped flameback, Local Name: Kaththokra.

Psittacula krameri (Scopoli): Family: Psittacidae, Order: Psittaciformes, English Name: Spotted Dove, Local Name: Tila ghughu.

Dicrurus macrocercus (Bechstein): Family: Corvidae, Order: Passeriformes, English Name: Black drongo, Local Name: Fingey.

Orthotomus sutorius (Pennant, 1769): Family: Sylvidae, Order: Passeriformes, English Name: Common tailor bird, Local Name: Tuntuni.

Acridotheres fuscus (Wagler, 1827): Family: Sturnidae, Order: Passeriformes, English Name: Jungle Mayna, Loacl name: Jhuti shlikh.

Oriolus xanthrmus (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Corvidae, Order: Passeriformes, English Name: Black headed oriole, Local Name: Holdey pakhi.

Bubo nipalensi\s (Hodgson, 1836): Famiy: Strigidae, Order: Strigiformes, English Name: Spot –belleid eagle owl, Loacl Name: Pencha.

Calotes versicolor (Daudin, 1802): Family: Agamidae, Orde: Lacetilia, English Name: Common garden lizard, Local Name: Rokto-chosa.

Varanus flavescens (Herdwicke andgray, 1827): Family: Varaniade, Order: Lacertilia, English Name; Yellow monitor, Local name: Shonagui.

Ardeola grayii (Sykes, 1832): Family: Ardeidae, Order: Ciconiformes, English name: Indian pond heron, Local Name: kani Bok.

Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus, 1758): Family; Sturnidae, Order: Passeriformes, English Name: Common moyna, Local Name: Bhat shalikh

Cuculus micropterus (Gould, 1837): Family: Centropodidae, Order: Cuculiformes, English Name: Indian cuckoo, Local Name: Bou katha kou

Eudynamys scolopacea (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Centropododae, Order: Cculifgormes, English Name: Asian cuckoo, Local Name: Kokil.

Tyto alba (Scopoli): Family: Tytonidae, Order: Strigiformes, English Name: Barnowl. Local Name: Laxmi pencha.

Copsychus saularis (Linnaeus, 1758): Family: Muscicapidae, Order: Passeriformes, English Name: Oriental magpie robin, Local Name: Doel.

Rousettus leschenaultia: Family: Pteropidae, Order: Chiroptera, Bengali Name: Badur, English Name: Fulvous fruitebat, Local Name: Dubak.

Lepus nigricollis (Cuvier, 1823): Family: Leporidae, Order: Lagomorpha, English Name: Rufoustailed hare, Bengali Name: Khorgush, Local Name: Mattak.

4.5. Documented plant species in different sacred groves

32 species of dominant plants are documented from 13 sacred groves. These are as follows:

Tamarindus indica (L.): Family: Leguminosae, Local name: Tetul

Nyctanthes arbortristis (L.): Family: Oleacae, Local name: Shefali

Mimosa elengi (L.): Family: Sapotaceae, Local name: Bokul

Ficus bengalensis (L.): Family: Moracae, Local Name: Bot

Citrus grandis (L.): Family: Rutacae, Local name: Jambura

Ficus racemosa (L.): Family: Moracae

Terminalia arjuna: Family: Combretaceae

Mangifera indica (L.): Family: Anacardiacae, Local name: Thiga chuk

Anthocephalus cadamba: Family: Rubiaceae, Local Name: Kadam

Musa balbisiana (colla.): Family: Musaceae, Local Name: Kola

Phyllanthus emblica (L.): Family: Euphorbiaceae, Local Name: Amlaki

Anona squamosa (L.): Family: Annonaceae, Local Name: Ata

Artocarpus integrifolia (L.): Family: Moraceae, Local name: Kanthal

Phoenix sylvestris (Roxb.): Family: Aracaceae, Local name: Khajur

Alsotonia scholaris (R.Br.): Family: Apocynaceae, Local name: Chatim

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (L.): Family: Malvaceae, Local name: Joba

Tabernaemontana coronaria (Willd.): Family: Apocynaceae, Local name: Togor

Punica graniatum (L.): Family: Punicaceae, Local name: Dalim

Ocimum sanctum (L.): Family: Lamiaceae, local name: Tulshi

Polyalthia longifolia: local name: Debdaru

Cocos nucifera (L.): Family; Arecaceae, Local name: Narkel

Melia azadirachta (L.): Local name: Neem

Butea frondosa (Roxb.): Family: Legumonosae, Local name: Polash

Ficus infectoria (Roxb.): Family: Moraceae, Local name: Pakur

Mimusops elengii (L.): Family: Sapotaceae, Local name: Bokul

Aegle mermelos: Family: Rutaceae

Ixora coccinia (L.): Family: Rubiaceae, Local name: Rongon

Mimosa pudica (L.): Family: Leguminosae, Local name: Lajjaboti

Nyctanths arbortristis (L.): Family: Oleaceae, Local name: Shewli

Bombax malabaricum (D.C.): Family: Bombacaceae, Local name: Shimul

Albizia lebbeck (Benth.): Family: Leguminosae, Local name: Shirish

Barringtonia acutangula: Family: Lecythidacea


Whilst preservation implies the maintenance of a species in the state of this existence at a given point in time, conservation aims to allow the species or variant to follow an evolutionary path influenced by environmental parameters within its natural range.

Local people are interviewed to document their knowledge of occurrence and uses of various animals and plant species is also of local conservation practices. Also documented are their perception of ongoing patterns of landscape change, ongoing changes in biological communities as well as species of particular interest such as medicinal herbs, and their perception of forces driving changes (Gadgil, 1996).

The indigenous peoples maintain some management system of harvesting. Yam harvest by Mandis in Madhupur can be cited as an example. During the dry months of March and April there is scarce of food among the forest people. At that time they gather many root tubers from the forest floor. Yam (Dioscera sp) is one of them. The Mandis can identify the yam shoot. They dig the soil near the collar zone of the yam stem and bring out the yam tuber leaving about one inch of the tuber attached with the stem. Then they fill the hole with the soil. In the next year new tuber develops from the remaining part of the tuber and grows well because of soil work from digging (Alam, 2000).

(Source: Pandey, 2000)

Indigenous knowledge is characteristically attributed of societies with historical continuity in resource use practices. Gadgil and Berkes (1991) identified four kinds of “rules and thumb” as social restraints leading to indigenous biological conservation practice:

1) Provide total protection to some biological communities or habitat patches: These may include pools along river courses, sacred ponds, sacred mountains, meadows and forests.

2) Provide total protection to certain selected species: Ficus are protected in many parts of the old world. It is notable that Ficus is now key stone resource significant to the conservation of overall biodiversity .Local people seem to be often aware of the importance of Ficus as affording food and shelter for a wide range of birds, bats and primates, and it is not difficult to imagine that such understanding was converted in to widespread protection of Ficus trees at some point in the distant past. Taboos with apparent functional significance may also be placed on some less obvious species within the ecological community.

3) Protect critical life history stages: In south India, fruit bats may be hunted when away foraging, but not at daytime roosts on trees that may be in the midst of villages.

4) Organise resource harvests under the supervision of a local expert: Many traditional resource harvesting systems rely on the guidance of a traditional expert to organize the harvest, control access, and supervise local rules.

Traditions are also reflected in a variety of practices regarding the use and management of trees, forests and water. These include:

  • Collection and management of wood and non-wood forest products
  • Traditional ethics, norms and practices for restraint use of forests, water and other natural resources
  • Traditional practices on protection, production and regeneration of forests
  • Cultivation of useful trees in cultural landscape and agroforestry systems
  • Creation and maintenance of traditional water harvesting systems such as tanks along with plantation of the tree groves in the proximity.

Table 13 (a) . Some indicators of wildlife conservation at local level

and community management status (including use)

Topic Indicators
Wildlife conservation
  • · Species richness at different point in time (e.g., current, one generation ago, etc.);
  • annual deforestation or afforestation rate (hectares cleared per 100 hectares of arable land in one year);
  • loss or gain of wetlands (hectares drained or cultivated per year, hectares reflooded);
  • · Loss or gain of specific habitats (e.g., a kind of tree which is the only place where some birds can build their nest).
Wildlife management (including use)
  • existence of local institutions or groups (i.e., committees or user groups) with management capacity, responsibility and authority;
  • · number of plant or animal species currently under some sort of ‘management rule’ (i.e., restricted use for non-locals, seasonal hunting/gathering, etc.);
  • · Methods used in hunting and gathering (destructive? careful to maintain species viability? etc.);
  • species planted/re-introduced;
  • survival rate by species;
  • percentage of local caloric and protein intake derived from hunting and gathering of wildlife;
  • percentage of local income generated from sale of wildlife products or other activities;
  • number of households that rely on traditional forms of medicine using local plant or animal products;
  • · Percentage of households involved in hunting/gathering activities.


Human culture was built upon and developed on the basis of the physical world and man and nature are interrelated. Cultural diversity hence is largely dependent on biological diversity which provides a wide range of materials for humans to maintain their lifestyle according to the society they belong to.

1. Taboos

Taboos represent unwritten social rules that regulate human behaviour. Such constraints not only may govern human social life, but also may affect, and sometimes even directly manage, many constituents of the local natural environment. Whatever the reason for such constraints, taboos may at least locally play a major role for the conservation of natural resources, species and ecosystems. Taboos lead to indigenous biological conservation .These restraints include providing total protection to some biological communities, habitat patches, and certain selected species ,as well as protection of other species during critical stages of their life history Taboos related to the natural environment initially may not have been intended for nature conservation. For example species may be avoided because of their behavioural patterns and morphological characteristics or in the belief that they are toxic. Human perception of, and relation to, species may govern which ones to avoid. Species may be avoided simply because they occur in creation myths, because they represent religious symbols, or because they are pet animals. Taboos resemble mechanisms for the protection of species and habitats in temporary society, but they have other social rules and sanctions, rooted in the traditional belief systems. Ecologically oriented anthropologists have revealed the complex ecological adaptations behind taboos. Taboo on the Indian cattle is ecologically adaptive, in that it increases rather than decreases the capacity of the present system of food to support human life. General food taboos, on the other hand, comprise a total prohibition of species as food at all times. This is referred as specific-species taboos (Colding and Folke,1997).Species are protected through specific-species taboos because they play a role in religious and cultural belief systems(Douglas,1966).In reality, it may be almost impossible to separate the belief systems from practices and traditional ecological knowledge systems. Knowledge, practices and beliefs tend to intermingle among traditional peoples (Gadgil et al.1993).

Table 13 (b). Conservation-oriented taboos in tribes and other ethnic groups of Northeastern India.

Animal(s) Protected Through Taboo Tribe/Ethnic Group Area
Red jungle fowl, Mayna, Crow, Pea-cock, Elephant, grey ol, Jackel, Indian nightjar, Greatr coucal, Oriental magpie robin, Indian roller Dalu,Rajbongshi, Hodi, Khatrio Barman Greater Mymensingh Region
Deer, wild boar, and other animals in mating season; pregnant female and young animals; leader of a group of deer/wild boar. Various tea garden comm.-unities, Hrankhawl, Hmar & Debbarman tribes Assam, Tripura, Mizoram
Elephant, Tiger, Monkey, Owl, Vulture, House Crow, Raven Various tea garden communities Assam
Elephant, Song birds, certain snakes Hrankhawl Assam, Tripura
Monkey, Otter Pnar Assam, Meghalaya
Elephant, Eagle, Parrot, Hill Mayna Dimasa Assam
Hoolock Gibbon, Tiger, Python, Wild Goat, Bulbul (bird), Frog Rongmai naga Assam, Manipur
Tortoise, Snail, Channa morulius (fish), Small eel, Some catfishes, Snakes Ningthouja clan of Meitei Manipur, Assam
Egg and meat of all animals, some catfishes, small eel, Channa morulius, Snail Khuman clan of Meitei Manipur, Assam
Field rat Khabanganba clan Manipur, Assam
Sparrow Moirang clan Manipur,Assam
Parrot, Owl, Elephant, Monkey, Jackal Muslim trapper Assam
Sparrow, Jackal, Crow, Eagle, Vulture Muslim nomad Assam
Monkey, Elephant, Songbirds Muslim nomad Assam
All poisonous and non-poisonous snakes Worshippers of Goddess Assam
Herons, Egrets, and Cormorants in heronries during mating/nesting season Most communities in valley areas Assam

(Source-Gupta and Guha, 2002)

Colding and Folke (1997) show that as many as 62% of the avoided reptiles and 44% of the mammals are threatened and have important role that traditional people may play in their protection according to taboo. Same has been found in the present research. In this research 11 species of animals and 6 species of plants has been recorded as taboo. Among them 13% are threatened and 2% are vulnerable (Table-14-15). There is also a widespread taboo on hunting during the mating season of animals. Hunters belonging to several communities in Cachar, Assam, do not kill deer during March-May, when pregnant females are present in the herd. Most of these hunters also observe taboo on killing the leader of deer herd or a sounder of wild boar, as it is believed to be bestowed with supernatural powers, and hence killing it is considered a sin. Again, although many people eat herons and egrets, hunting is banned during the nesting season, and their nests which are common sights on the bamboo groves of most villages, are never disturbed. The killing of certain animals is taboo among certain groups. For instance, several ethnic groups in Cachar, Assam, who practice hunting, do not kill the crow, the owl, the vulture, the elephant and certain snakes, while a group of Muslim trappers do not trap or kill the parrot, the owl, the monkey and the jackal.

Table 14.  Animals use as taboo through conservation Local name Bengali name Common name Scientific name Community
1. Murag Murag Red jungle fowl Gallus gallus Dalu
2. Shalikh Shalikh Mayna Acridothers fuscus Dalu
3. Kaak Kaak Crow Corvus splendens Dalu
4. Mayuar Mayuar Peacock Pavo muticus Dalu
`5. Hatee Hatee Elephant Elephas maximus Dalu
6. Ram kutta Ram kutta Grey wolf Canis lupus Hodi
7. Shial Shial Jackel Canis aureus Rajbongshi
8. Choto ratchara Chotoratchara Indian nightjar Caprimulgus asiaticus Rajbongshi
9. Kanakua Kanakua Greater coucal Centropes sinensis Hodi
10. Doel Doel Oriental magpie robin Capsychus saularis Hodi
11. Nilkantha Nilkantha Indian roller Coracious bengalensis Khatrio Barman

Table 15. Plants use as taboo through conservation

Scientific Name Community
Kaemferia galenga Koch
Blumea sp Koch
Calamus guruba Hajong
Drynaria quercifolia Hajong
erianthus rivannae/ Hajong
Acurus calamus Mandi

2. Farming: Value of traditional agroecosystems in supporting the plant and animal diversity is immense. Tree diversity in farms and agroecosystems is often the product of interaction of local and formal knowledge.

A recent study by Shastri et al (2002) provides interesting insights on the tree-growing practices and associated biodiversity in Karnataka.Shastri et al (2002) found trees belonging to 93 species in a sampled area of 1.7 hectares of Sirsisimakki agro-ecosystem. Additional 44 species were noted on non-agricultural lands in the village eco-system. Farms themselves have domesticated biodiversity essential for survival and subsistence. One such example by Kimata et al (2000) form south India on the cultivation and process of domestication of Bracharia remosa cultivated in pure stands. Its grains are used in nine traditional food preparations in South India. Same has been found in this present research. Here 11 species of animals and 14 species of plants are found in greater Mymensingh region in ethnic community (Table 16-17). Among them 2% animals are critically endangered and 3% animals are endangered.

Table 16.  Animal use as farming through conservation Local name Bengali name English name Scientific name community
1 Oak Shukar Wild boar Sus scrofa Mandi
2 Du Murgi Fowl Gallus gallus Hajong
3 Mahish Mahish Wild buffalo Bubalis bubalus Hajong
4 Chagal Bon Chagal Serow Capricornis  sumatrensis Hajong
5 Raj hansh Raj hansh Bar headed goose Anser indicus Hajong
6 kabutar Jalali kabutar Rock pigeon Columba livia Hajong
7 Moyna moyna Hill myna Gracula religiosa Mandi
8 Madagongrek Bhimraj Greater racket tailed drongo Dicrurs paradiseus Mandi
9 Ableka Bhat shalikh Common myna Acridothers tristis Mandi
10. Dusenam Tila ghughu Spotted dove Streptopelia chinensis Mandi
11. Maraka Maya harin Barking deer Muntiacus muntjak Mandi
12. Mattak Khorgosh Rufoustailed hare Lepus nigricollis Mandi
13. Dusek Tia Roseringed parakeet Psittacula krameri Mandi

Table 17. Plants use as farming through conservation

Scientific Name Community
Musa balbisiana Mandi
Artcarpus integrifolia Barman
Citrus grandis Barman
Mangifera indica Hajong
Anona squamosa Barman
Cocos nucifera Hajong
Melia azadirachta Barman
Bambosa vulgaris Koch
Amaranthus spinosus Hodi
Artocarpus spinosus Hodi
Artcarpus heterophylus Hodi
Xeromphis spinosa Mandi
Centella asiatica Banai
Oxalis corniculata Rajbongshi

3. Traditional ethos: In spite of the modernization, traditional ecological ethos continues to survive in many other local societies, although often in reduced forms. A large number of elements of local biodiversity, regardless of their use value, are protected by the local cultural practices. Some of these may not have known conservation effect, yet may symbolically reflect, a collective appreciation of the intrinsic or existence value of life forms, and the love and respect for nature .Traditional conservation ethics are still capable of protecting much of the country’s decimating biodiversity, as long as the local communities have even a stake in the management of natural resources. Traditional ethos is reflected in a variety of practices including sacred groves and sacred landscapes. In effect we are claiming that a cultural ethos favouring conservation will tend to evolve in societies inhabitating stable environments, where populations are close to saturations, where populations are sedentary and territorial, where human groups are closed and when technology is stagnant. The opposite conditions would favour a cultural ethos of aggressive use of resources promoting their relatively rapid exhaustion. While this is the expected consequence of the ethos, the society may rationalize its practices within some other framework .Rappaport (1971)Argues persuasively that human societies have employed the concept of sacred  to mould human behaviour especially where the interests of an individual clash with those of the group as a whole. This would be the case when ecological prudence was in the interest of the group, while profligacy was indicated by individual interest. The primitive practices involving nature worship, and a whole variety of taboos documented with such erudition by Frazer (1922) may then have served to enforce ecological prudence in primitive human societies .Their rejection and replacement by different religious edicts no doubt helped in changing the ethos from an orientation towards conservation to exploitation in other traditions such as Judeo-Christianity (White, 1967).

Atharva Veda (12.1.11) Hymm, believed to have been composed sometime at around 400 BC, somewhere amidst deep forests reads:”O Earth! Pleasant be thy hills, snow clad mountains and forests numerous coloured, firm and protected earth! On this earth I stand, undefeated, unslain, and unhurt.” Implicit here are the following principles:

Ø      It must be ensured that earth remains forested.

Ø      It must be understood that humans can sustain only if the earth is protected.

Ø      To ensure that humans can sustain only if the earth is protected.

Ø      To ensure that humans remain unslain and unhurt the ecosystem integrity must be maintained.

Ø      Even, if vaguely, it also makes reference to ecology, economy and society concurrently.

Another Hymm for Atharva Veda reads: “Whatever I dig out from you, O Earth! May that have quick regeneration again; may we not damage thy vital habitat and heart.” Implicit here

Ø      Human begins can use the resources from the earth for their subsistence,

Ø      Resource use pattern must also help in resource regeneration,

Ø      In the process of harvest no damage should be done to the earth,

Ø      Humans are forewarned not against the use of nature for survival, but against the overuse and abuse.

Tiwari et al (1998) shows that tribal communities of Mehghalaya –Khasis, Garos and Jaintias have a tradition of environmental conservation according to traditional ethics.

Comparatively present study shows that 9 types of traditional ethos have been recorded which have great importance of conservation (Table-18).

Table 18. Plants and animals use in traditional ethos through conservation

Types of ethos Community
Killing of cow is like to the killing of Brahman Dalu
It should not be digging soil when there is Ambabichi Banai
It is sin when strike to cow by stick Dalu
It is sin when give to cow scraps of food Dalu
If one kill cow or Elephant or Horse, he will go to the hell Hodi
If one sacrifice bird to the god, he will get Rajbongshi
If one sacrifice buffalo to the God he will stay to the heaven for 100 years Rajbongshi
If one sacrifice serow to the God he will stay to the haven for ten years Rajbongshi
If One sacrifice deer to the god ,he stay to the heaven for ten hundred years Rajbongshi

4. Folklores: Folklores play an important role in confirming such beliefs. Though most of the tribal population is ignorant about the art of writing and reading, They have scrupulously preserved their traditional customs, rituals, ceremonies and a way of forest life through folklores which often suggests do’s , don’ts conventional norms in everyday life and in the society and how to behave with nature under various circumstances.

The folklores also point out rewards and blessings for good behaviour or act, and heavy punishment for the atheist or infidel. There are a number of folklores on reprisals of forest spirits for unauthorized hunting in the sacred groves. Removal of any plant material, even of dead wood, from the grove is taboo.

5. Sacred groves: Most of the folklores and beliefs of the tribal culture have some relevance with the past history of the community and its environs. Throughout human history, people have evolved cultural ethos and institutions to promote long term persistence of biological communities. These traditional systems of conservation have taken the form of sacred sites (sacred groves, ponds, and sacred species). Such beliefs and taboos have kept our sacred groves unmolested till now. Due to the advent of modern civilization these beliefs and taboos are becoming weaker day by day and are likely to be forgotten in the near future.

Gadgil and Vertak (1975, 1976) found a grove in the kolaba district of Maharastra harboring a solitary specimen of the Lianaintada phaseoloides. Sacred groves are one of the most valuable of such legacies from the primitive practices of nature conservation. The nature of religious cults associated with such sacred groves suggests that the practices are very ancient, deriving from the hunting -gathering stages of the society. The composition of the vegetation, corresponding to the climax formation for that region, corroborates the supposition that the sacred groves have been immune from human interference for a very long period of time. It is well known that the climax form of vegetation in any locality often tends to be richer in species than the earlier stages of succession. As climax forests, the sacred groves are particularly diverse in species of trees and the life forms dependent for their existence on trees, namely climbers and epiphytes. With the felling of forest all around them, the sacred groves have become the last refuge of many plant species. Many of the plant species which depend for their survival in the region on the sacred groves are of considerable practical value. Continued conservation of these sacred groves is obviously desirable both from a practical and an aesthetic point of view. Unfortunately, the religious believes on which this conservation is becoming more and more urgent with the deforestation of the surrounding regions.

Sacred groves are one of the finest instances of traditional conservation practices. They have also formed centres of cultural and religious life for people over much of the old world.

Table 19. Different types of sacred groves

Village Deity Nature Shelter Offering Ownership Preservation Location Community
Langoljora kmakkha F T A P M PL Hajong
Sagordighi Ganga F O C G P PL Boisnab
Guptabrindabon Radha-Krishna F,M T C G P PL Boisnab
Chunia Mittihadam F O A G D PL Mandi
Chunia Bolgrem F O A G P PL Mandi
Chunia Bring F O A G P PL Mandi
Chunia Mittiasong F O A G P PL Mandi
Chunia Gram F O A G P PL Barman
Pirgacha Sitoli F O C G P PL Dalu
Kakorkandi Chaitra puja F O A G P PL Rajbonshi
Hagurakuri Joguhasil F O A G P PL Mandi
Hagurakuri Bidae chapagal F O A G P PL Mandi
Thanarbait Bidae chibal F O A G P PL Mandi

Nature: F=mother goddess, M=male god; Shelter: O=Open, T=Temple; Offering: C=coconut and other vegetables, A=animal meat; Ownership: G=public, P=private; Preservation: P=poorly preserved, M=moderately preserved, D=has been destroyed; Location: PL=plain land

Table 20. Human ecological and indigenous perspective for biodiversity

management Key changes Suggestions for policy and practices
1. Biodiversity conservation and maintenance of ecosystem functions *Application of the principles of sustainability science for forest management attempting to address the nature-society interaction will need an interdisciplinary approach as well as multiple stocks of knowledge and institutional innovations to navigate transitions toward sustainable forest management (Pandey,2002c) 

*Representation of all forest types in protected areas ,both formal and ethnoforestry regimes ,which are managed collaboratively (Reid,2001)and link culture  and conservation(Beyrs,2001)

Protection of natural forests against wild-fires ,grazing ,and unmanaged removals with the help of local strategies of herders and resident communities(Coppolllo,2000).As local people often have awareness about the application of fire use practices can be identified for grassland management. These practices reflect a well adapted production strategy .policy decisions should as far as possible be flexible in the light of local understanding of fire use (Mbow, 2000) wherever possible.

* Preventing fragmentation and providing connectivity to conserve biodiversity in landscape continuum. Improvement of existing shifting cultivation methods with integration of traditional knowledge and new practices can be helpful.

2. Provide goods and services to the society
3. Social well being of the people
4. Economic well being of the people

Community based conservation in Northeastern India is exemplified by the sacred forests or groves based on religious beliefs, and in the form of village forest reserves. The former can be seen in Meghalaya and Manipur while the latter is common in Mizoram (Darlong and Barik, 1998). In Meghalaya, the sacred groves are of three categories, viz., Lao Lyngdoh (forest of the priests), Lao Niam (ritual forests), and Lao kyntang (forests of the clan) (Syngai, 1999). We have also come across a few such small sacred groves in the Cachar district of Assam, maintained by the tea garden communities. The Barak Valley, Assam, who are sufi saints, also conserve plants in protected groves and fish species in their place of worship.

Some of the taboos and beliefs associated with the sacred groves are as follows:

1.      Not only felling of trees, but even lopping off branches, twigs, and leaves or the removal of dead wood or any other material is strictly prohibited.

2.      While in the grove, one is advised not to harbour any evil thought in mind.

3.      Animals in the grove are not to be harmed.

In the sacred groves Assam, footwear is to be removed at the entrance, as in the groves of Tamil Nadu as well (Oliver et. al., 1997). Similar rules are also observed. Violations of the taboos in sacred groves are believed to incite the wrath of the presiding deity, and the offender faces the danger of being punished severely. Besides the sacred groves where total protection is enforced, limited extraction of resources is allowed in certain groves, while several tribes and sub-tribes such as Dimasa, Pnar, Hmar, Changsen, Vaiphei, Debbarman, Hrankhawl, Zeme, Mizo and Meiteis in Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur maintain Community Reserve or Supply forests, where extraction on a sustainable basis is allowed with the permission of the headman (chief) and community elders (Guha, 1999).

Samely in this present documentation 35 species of dominant plants and 31 species of dominant animals has been recorded in different sacred groves (Table-19-20).These make a distinct forest patch.

6. Medicinal use: Socio culturally valued species find place in home gardens. For example, Juang and Munda tribes of the Keohjar district of eastern India use 215 plants, belonging to 150 genera and 82 families (Mahapatra and Panda,2002).Another study of traditional knowledge of Kumaun Higher Himalaya found that Bhotia tribes use 34 species of medicinal plants native to the region (Satyal et al.2002).

But the present study in ethnic groups of greater Mymensingh region shows that 35 species of animals and 24 species of plants have been found which are conserve through medicinal use ( Table-21 and 22 ).Among the 35 animal species 9% are vulnerable, 6% are endangered and 11% are critically endangered according to the IUCN status.

Table 21.  Animal use as medicine through conservation

Scentific name Local name Uses
Pteropus giganteus Badur Rheumatic fever/meat
Naja kaouhtia Gokhra Pain killer/Liver
Coluber nigromarginatus Daraj Energetic/meat
Pyhton molurus Ajagor Ant poisonous/liver
Sus scrofa Buno shukar Rheumatic fever/oil
Panhtera tigris Machak Rheumatic fever/oil
Varanus bengelensis Gui shap Skin disease/
Gallus gallus Du Madding
Rousettus leschenalti Kola badur asthma
Sarcogyps calvus Shagon Skindisease/meat
Crocdylus porosus Lonapanir kumir Pox/egg
Hemidactylus flaviviridis tiktiki Prevent emaciation/tail
Hemidactylus frenatus tiktiki Prevent emaciation/tail
Canis aureus Shial Insect attacking prevent
Megaderma lyra Badur Asthma/Liver
Cuon alpinus Ram kutta Ulcer/Meat
Bufo melanostictus Kuno bang Gastric/meat
Kachuga smithi Kasim Dysentery/meat
Macaca mulatta Banor Asthma/meat
Herpestes auropunctatus Benji Asthma/meat
Eudynamys scolopacea Kokil Kala jar/meat
Rattus rattus Indur Stomach pain/Meat
Capricornis sumatraensis Purun Food/
Sus scrofa Oak Food/
Felis chaus Bon biral Hysteria/saliva
Elephas maximus Hati Hysteria/saliva
Munticus muntjak Maya harin Hysteria/larva
Manouria emys Pahari kasim Costiveness/head
Pavo muticus Bormi myur Amulet &tetanus/
Phalacrocorax carbo Paan-kawri Rheumatic fever/meat
Panthera tigris Bagh Amulet & paralysis
Varanus bengalensis Gui shap Fiery skin/oil
Capricornis asiaticus Chotoratchara Paralysis/feacal
Varanus salvator Kalo gui Rheumatic fever/meat
Upupa epos Hudhud

Table 22.  Plants use as medicine through conservation

Scientific name uses Ethnic group
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Dysentery/flower Dalu
Mimosa pudica Inflammation of testis/root, inflammation of breast Dalu,Khatrio Barman
Psidium guajava Dysentery/leaf Dalu
Syzigium jambos Liver pain /fruit Dalu
Tamarindus indica Jaundice/ripe fruit Dalu
Shorea robusta Gonorrhea/leaves Dalu
Madhuca longifolia Skin disease/seed oil Dalu
Asparagus recemosus Milk secretion/root Dalu
Centella asiatica Inflammation of eye/leaf, stomach pain Dalu,Banai
Nymphaea nouchali Dysentery dyspepsia/rhizome, piles/rhizome, menstruation Dalu,Banai,Khatrio Barman
Oxalis corniculata Cough & headache/plant Dalu
Albizia lebbeck Dysentery of poultry bird/leaf Hodi
Colocasia esculenta Skin disease/leaf juice Hodi
Cassia sophera Ischemia/root Hodi
Acacia sp. Cough &cold /leaves Koch
Anhtocephalus chinensis Headache/twig Koch
Citrus aurantifolia Stomach pain/leaves Hajong
Cinnamomum tamala Jaundice/juice Hajong
Terminalia chebula Liver pain/fruits Mandi
Steudnera virosa Headache or fractured bone /tuber Mandi
Asparagus racemosus Sperm count/root Khatrio Barman
Cajanus cajan Jaundice/leaves Khatrio Barman
Persicaria laantum Wounds &cuts/leave Banai
Tamarindus indica Diabetes/seed Rajbongshi

7. Totems: Various plants and animals related to different can’s totem of different ethnic group.  In an idu Mishmi folk tale (Elwin, 1958), the sparrow enjoys the right to take as much paddy as it wants from the fields, as it is believed that the sparrow taught the art of cultivation. It seems plausible that as the sparrow often came in large flocks to eat paddy, there was a possibility of people killing sparrows indiscriminately, treating them as pests. This oral tradition, therefore, served to provide some amount of protection to this bird by projecting it as a benefactor of the Idu Mishmis. A similar belief is nurtured by some nomads of Assam, who practice traditional medicine extracted from plants, sell medallions made of various animal parts such as pangolin scales, and trap small birds for consumption. These people never kill the sparrow. This type of totem has found in this present documentation. During the study 24 species of animals and 27 species of plants has been recorded (Table-23 and 24 ). In context to the nation threatened status 3% of the animals are vulnerable, 3% are endangered and 8% are critically endangered.

Table 23.  Animal use as totem through conservation

Sl no Local name Bengali name English name Scientific name community
1. Sebal Shial Jackel Canis aureus Mandi
2. Gilbi Banar Rhesus macaque Maca mulatta Mandi
3. Jada Ajagar Rock python Python molurus Mandi
4. Madagongrek Bhimraj Greater rocket tailed drongo Dicrurus paradiseus Mandi
5. Moyna Moyana Hil myna Gracula religiosa Mandi
6. Oak Shukar Wild boar Sus scrofa Mandi
7. Achak Ram kutta Indian wild dog Cuon alpinus Mandi
8. Brimmi Mengong Ban biral Jungle cat Felis chaus Mandi
9. Tao Bon murog Red jungle fowl Gallus gallus Koch
10. Kobutor Kobutor Rock pigeon Columba livia Koch
11. Kochop Kachap Pond tortoise Melanochelys trijuga Koch
12. Kumir Lonapanir kumir Salt water crocodile Crocodylus porosus Koch
13. Brimni damok Ban chagal Serow Capricornis sumataensis Hajong
14. Rajhans Raj Hans Bar headed goose Anser indicus Hajong
15. Hati Hati Elephant Elephas maximus Mandi
16. Raj dhanesh Rajdhanesh Great hornbill Buceros bicornis Hodi
17. Bhat shalikh Bhat shalikh Common myna Acridothers tristis Hodi
18. Jhuti shalikh Jhuti shalikh Jungle myna Acridothers fuscus Hodi
19. Khuruley pencha Khuruley pencha Spotted owlet Athene brama Hodi
20. Ababil Ababil House swift Appus affinis Hodi
21. Go-bok Go-bok Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis Banai

Table 24.  Plant use as totem through conservation

Scientific Name Community
Cocos nucifera Hodi
Jatrofa bicolor koch
Ocimum americanum koch
Butea monospora Hajong
Bombax ceiba Hajong
Musa spientum Hajong
Borassus flabellifer Mandi
Ficus religiosa Mandi
Saccharum psontaneum Mandi
Vigna sinensis Mandi
Saraca indica Rajbonshi
Butea fronodsa Rajbonshi
Melia azadirachta Rajbonshi
Musa balbasiana Banai
Diospyros Montana Barman
Colocasia esculenta Barman
Aegle mermelos Barman
Madhuca longifolia Barman
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Barman

8. Royal traditions: Royal traditions include royal hunting preserves, elephant forests and royal gardens etc. According to this text no research paper I have found.

During the study 2 species of animals and 3 species of plants has been recorded (Table-25 and 26 ).

Table 25.  Animals use as royal tradition through conservation

Sl.No. Bengali name English name Scientific name Community
1. Harin Barking deer Muntiacus muntjak Dalu
2. Bagh Bengal tiger Panthera tigris Rajbongshi

Table 26. Plants use as royal tradition through conservation

Scientific Name Community
Rosa damascene Hodi
Santalum album Dalu
Nelumbium speciosum Rajbongshi

Figure 1: Number of documented animal species in different ethnic groups

Figure 2: Number of documented plant species in different ethnic groups

Figure 3: Number of different animal use

Figure 4: Number of varieties uses of plants

Figure 5: Number of different animal use pattern

Figure 6: Number of documented animal species in different sacred groves

Figure-1 shows that Dalu is the major ethnic group who conserve maximum animals. Figure -2 shows that Hodi is the major ethnic group who conserve maximum plants. As indicated Figure -3 Birds are the major animal species which is conserved mostly than others. As indicated Figure-4 medicinal use through plant conservation has the great importance.Figure-5 shows that medicinal use of animal through conservation is also the important. Figure-6 shows that birds conserve in maximum in different studied sacred groves.  This analysis indicates that many traditional conservation practices have the ability to protect species. It must be recognized that many traditional human groups offer temporal and spatial refuges to threatened and ecologically viable species in different ways that is animal and plant use through totem, taboo, medicine, royal gardens, farming and others. Such species may hide, forage, and reproduce in the vicinity of the local groups that abstain from their utilization. From this study the avoidance of species occur in two ways:

1) The belief system of culturally isolated human populations.

2) The sharing of belief systems throughout larger cultural regions.


Traditional conservation practices have tended to be rejected as superstitious by modern organized religious like Christianity and as primitive and unscientific by modern resource managers (Gadgil, 1995).

Preserving the remaining stands, creating new forest reserves on degraded and encroached forest lands and protecting the forest communities require serious considerations of some urgent matters.

1. Peoples participation in forest management

Branding the forest people (especially by the forest department which has been executing the on going forestry project) as illegal occupants of forest lands complicates the process of peoples participation in the forest management and forestry activities.

2. Protecting remains of natural forest and Bio-diversity

Massive destruction of biological diversity has taken place in many places, especially in the sal forests, because of severe deforestation .Social or participatory forestry in west Bengal is cited to be very successful. The west Bengal state government has been successful in introducing participatory forest management system in 37%of government forest land as of 1989.Under this management system the concerned government authorities and the local people commit to jointly creating forest reserves. The landless families are involved in regenerating forests from coppices of natural forests. This demonstrates a national commitment to protect biological diversity.

3. Further expansion of agroforestry

There should be more expansion of agroforestry. The local people should be given the impression through agroforestry that forest is for them and afforestation programs cannot be successful without their active participation. They should be provided with long time tenurial rights through agroforetry.

4. Socio-economic survey

A socio-economic survey should be conducted before each forestry project goes into operational phase and the findings should reach among others the local people who are to be impacted by the project. This may reduce misunderstanding among the local people and the lower level staff of the executing agencies.

5. Flow of information

Important documents of forestry projects largely remain out of touch of the media persons and the local people in particular. Lack of sufficient flow of information’s increases the chances of misunderstanding.

Biodiversity and community knowledge protection act is essential for Bangladesh. The main objectives of the biodiversity and community knowledge protection act is to protect the sovereign rights of the communities that have knowledge of biodiversity and have managed, maintained, conserved, reproduced and enhanced biodiversity ,genetic resources and traditional knowledge ,culture and various forms of practice related to these resources and to create the legal and institutional environment.

The specific objectives of this documentation are:

  1. To ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biological and genetic resources and related knowledge, culture and practice in order to maintain and improve their diversity as a means of sustaining the life support and health care system of the people of Bangladesh.
  2. To protect the biological and genetic resources and the related knowledge, culture and practice from pollution, destruction and erosion.
  3. To protect and support the rights ,knowledge ,innovations and practices of local and indigenous communities and national scientific and research institutions with respect to the conservation and use and management of biological and genetic resources
  4. To provide an appropriate system of access to biological and genetic resources and related knowledge based upon the prior inform consent of the concerned local or indigenous communities and the state
  5. To promote appropriate mechanisms for a fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biological and genetic resources and related knowledge and technologies
  6. To ensure the participation and agreement of concerned communities in making decisions regarding the distribution of benefits which may derive from the use of biological and genetic resources
  7. To promote and encourage the building of national scientific and technological capacity relevant to the conservation and sustainable utilization of biological and genetic resources
  8. To promote new innovations and discoveries to reproduce, manage and enhance biodiversity and genetic resources
  9. To ensure that the transfer and movement of biological resources and the knowledge of the community take place in a transparent manner and in accordance with this Act; and
  10. To protect the biological and the ecological environment of the country from all pollution, particularly from the potential hazards of biological pollution caused by the release of genetically modified organisms in the environment or may be caused by the genetic engineering technology.

Documentation of traditional knowledge

1.          It is sometimes believed that proper documentation of associated TK could help in checking bio-piracy.  It is assumed that if the material/knowledge is documented, it can be made available to patent examiners the world over so that prior art in the case of inventions based on such materials/knowledge are/is readily available to them.  It is also hoped that such documentation would facilitate tracing of indigenous communities with whom benefits of commercialization of such materials/knowledge has to be shared.

2.             On the other hand, others believe that documentation may facilitate bio-piracy.  They argue that a trade secret of an indigenous community would be maintained only until it is closely held by the community – as soon as it is put on paper, it will become accessible to pirates and would be purloined.  This dilemma is the subject of discussions in national and international debates on benefit sharing.  Some suggest the empowerment of the indigenous communities themselves so that they are able to get legal protection for closely-held knowledge without the involvement of outside agencies.  Nevertheless, documentation has one clear benefit.  It would check patents based on TK in the public domains that are today difficult to prevent due to lack of availability of information with patent examiners.

3.           In India, preparation of village-wise Community Biodiversity Registers (CBRs) for documenting all knowledge, innovations and practices has been undertaken in a few States.


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Johan c @ beijer. kua. se


Species: common and scientific name Use for medicine Use for taboo Use for totem Worship Others
Wild boar(Sus scrofa) Pneumatic fever(Mandi),food(Koch)any kind of pain(Koch), Baraha Abater(Dalu) Gram worship(Hodi) To sacrifice SUSUMI SALJONG
Tiger(Panthera tigris) Pneumatic fever(Mandi)Amulet &Paralysis(Koch)
Big bat(Megaderma lyra) Pneumatic fever, Liver use Ulcer(Mandi) Liver use for Asthma(Barman)
King Cobra( Pain killer(Mandi)
Daraj Pain killer(Mandi)
Python Good for brain (Mandi)
Leech Impotence(Mandi) Sexual disease preventing (Koch)
Fowl Madding (Mandi) 

Physical weakness(Koch)

Jatramukut worship as a totem Use to sacrifice CHURABUDI &MISI-SALJONG (Mandi) Food (Koch)
Serow Sacrifice to TATARA-RABUGA Muila worship 

(Hajong )

Food (Koch)
Pea cock Amulet /Tetanus/Plumage(Koch) Taboo as a rider of KARTIK 

(Dalu )

Julma mitti Food (Koch)
Elephant(Elephus maximus) Hysteria (Koch) Aati –sela mitti(Mandi)
Cat Hysteria (Koch) Mengang –mitti(Mandi)
Fox Use bone to prevent insect attack of cow & goat (Barman) Pneumatic fever(Mandi) Sebal mitti(Mandi)
Crocodile Use egg to prevent Pox (Mandi) Bastu worship
Tiktiki(Common lizard) Use tail to prevent emaciated(Mandi)
Crab Dysentry-meat(Mandi) 


Kurmo Abater
Earth worm Impotence(oil)(Barman) 

Sexual disease  use oil(Koch)

Wild dog Ulcer-meat (Barman)
All kinds of frog Gastric (Barman)


Scientific Name Status
Pteropus giganteus NO
Naja kaouthia VU
Coluber nigromarginatus VU
Python molurus EN
Sus scrofa NO
Panthera tigris CR
varanus bengalensis VU
Gallus gallus NO
Corvus macrorhynchus NO
Rouettus leschenaultia DD
Sarocgyps calvus CR
Capricornis sumatrensis CR
Pavo muticus DD
Elephas maximus CR
Felis chaus EN
Vulpes bengalensis VU
Crocodylus porosus CR
Hemidactylus flaviviridis NO
Hemidactylus frenatus NO
Canis aureus VU
Megaderma lyra NO
Cuon alpinus CR
Bufo melanostictus NO
Kachuga smithi EN
Macaca mulatta VU
Herpestes auropunctatus NO
Eudynamys scolopacea NO
Rattus rattus NO
Muntiacus muntjak EN
Manouria emys CR
Phalacrocorax arbo NO
Caprimulgus asiaticus NO
Varanus salvator EN
Columba livia NO
Geoclamys hamiltonii EN
Upopa epops NO
Columba punicea CR
Oriolus xanthormus NO
Gracula religiosa NO
Acridohters tristis NO
Corvus splendens NO
Merops orientalis NO
casmerodius albus NO
Bubo nipalensis EN
Halcyon smyrnensis NO
Streptopelia chinensis DD
Lepus nigricollis EN
Atherurus macrousus DD
Pycnonotus cafer NO
Mabuya carinata NO
Gekko gecko VU
Dinomum benghalense NO
Psittacula krameri NO
Streptopelia chinensis NO
Dicrurus macrocercus NO
Orthotomus sutorius NO
Acridotheres fuscus NO
Caltes versicolor NO
Varanus flavescens EN
Ardeola greyii NO
Cuculus micropterus NO
Eudynamys scolopacea NO
Tyto alba NO
Copsychus saularis NO
Buceros bicornis CR
Appus afinis NO
Athene brama NO
Bubulcus ibis NO
Centropus sinensis NO
Coracias bengalensis NO









OF SESSION: 2001– 2002










I express my heartful gratitude to Dr. Mofizul Kabir, Associate Professor, Department of Zoology, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka for suggesting the problems and for his untiring guidance.

I express my gratitude to Dr. Anwarul Islam, Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka for his valuable advices during the study period.

I am grateful to Dr. Mostafa Feeroz, Professor, Department of Zoology, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka.

I am grateful to Dr. Sajeda Begum, Associate Professor, Department of Zoology, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka for her valuable suggestions.

I am grateful to Mrs. Sanjida Mobaswara, Lecturer, Dept. of Botany, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka.

I am also grateful to Dr. Monirul H. Khan, Md. Abdul Aziz, Md. Kamrul Hasan for their advices during the study.

I express my reverence to Philip Gain, Director, Society for environment and Human Development, Dhaka and Sukanto Sen, Director, BARCIK, Dhaka.

My sincere thanks to Pavel Partha, Program Officer, BARCIK, Dhaka and Partha Sankor Saha, Cultural co-ordinator, Society for environment and Human Development, Dhaka.

I am grateful to Forest Department, Government ob Bangladesh for permitting me to work in the forest of greater Mymensingh region.

I am also indebted to all my adorable teachers of Zoology and Botany department for their encouragement and advice.

My special thanks to Porag Ritchil, Juel bin Johir, Suvas Kuzur, Ripon Chakma, Mukta Raksam, Silderstar Chiran and all of my friends.

I have no words of thankfulness for their help in providing special information and encouragement .I would like to thanks Hajong Aswani Kumar Roy ( Defulia, Dhubaura Mymensingh), Rajmohon Dalu ( Hatibanda, Nalitabari, Sherpur),  Avoy Dalu ( Joyram kura ,Haluaghat ,Mymensingh), Neta Nokrek ( Haluaghat, Mymensingh ), Janik Nakrek ( Chunia, Modhupur, Tangail), Srijon Sangma (Research Officer, Academy of Tribal Culture , Birisiri, Netrokona), Babul Nokrek ( Regional Education Officer, CARITAS, Mymensingh).

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