Agricultural land - The land on which farmers cultivate food grain and/or cash crops.
Agroforestry - A pattern of land use in which trees and shrubs are grown along with annual food or other crops and/or livestock.
Benefits - The measurable value of goods produced as a result of growing trees. Farmers when interviewed gave only the cash values of trees sold in the market as benefits from farm forestry. Products used domestically were not considered as tangible benefits because these (fuelwood and fodder) were collected by their families at zero financial expenditure. The general scarcity of these goods and the consequent hardships in terms of the allocation of more time and energy experienced by wood-gatherers (women and children) were not counted as opportunity costs because in most rural areas women and children were deemed to have no alternative uses of their labour and time.
Costs - The measurable value of (1) material inputs (seed, fertiliser and chemical spray), (ii) other inputs (hours of labour), and (iii) forgone opportunities to cultivate alternative crops.
Cost-benefit ratio - This is arrived at by dividing the cash value of costs by the cash value of benefits.
Degraded forest - Forest lands become degraded when the regeneration of trees, shrubs and grass is inhibited because of severe top soil erosion, loss of ground cover or compactness of soil. Most of the forests in Gujarat, except those in the south, are suffering from the above conditions.
Farm forestry - The raising of trees as a crop on their land by individual farmers or farm families, for household use and/or for the market. Privately managed tree-growing on community land and public land allocation schemes (for private tree growing) are reckoned as farm forestry, as is the growing of trees on wasteland, including degraded forests, by landless agricultural labourers and marginal farmers through cooperative schemes.
Large, middle and small farmer - A classification of farmers followed by the EGSFP Report, which considers farmers with less than 2 hectares of land as small, those with land between 2 and 5 hectares as middle, and those with more than 5 hectares of land as large. This operational definition has to be qualified in each case with reference to local land characteristics which may in some areas make the owner of 3 hectares of land a small farmer, e.g. In Vadgam village of Cambay Taluka in Kheda district the owner of 10 acres of land is considered to be a small farmer.
Marginal farmer - A landowner with little or unproductive land, generally dependent on earning part of the family income as hired agricultural or other labour.
Wasteland - All lands affected by water erosion, wind erosion, floods, water-logging, soil salinisation, and soil alkalisation, thereby rendered unfit for cultivation of most plants. In India, the calculation of the total area under wasteland generally includes degraded forest lands.
In Ganeshpura village of Mehsana district, the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) has attempted to motivate women to practice farm forestry on a plot of one hectare of land, given to the women by the Village Panchayat in May 1986. The project of planting Eucalyptus trees with the supply of seedlings from a nearby nursery (run by the Forest Department) began in June 1986 with an all-women task force.
Farm forestry in this case, as in Vadgam village, is considered a means of securing employment and hence a regular income for participants. SEWA secured funds from NREP to provide women with employment, by raising trees on the common village grazing land (given by the village panchayat).
Nearly 11 000 seedlings were planted by village women of lower and middle castes. They were employed on a daily basis to prepare the land, dig pits, plant seedlings, irrigate them and dig trenches on the boundary of the plot to keep the grazing animals off the plants. Owing to drought conditions and the hostility of certain members of high castes in the village, not even 1 000 plants survived. At the time of the visit to Ganeshpura on 28 November 1986, the plot appeared to be a part of the wasteland around the village.
Despite their failure the women of Ganeshpura's lower and middle castes were still prepared to work hard to raise trees, provided NREP funds were again available to employ them. SEWA workers proposed that this time the women first raise a nursery, then in the 1987 rainy season plant more seedlings on the same plot of land.
SEWA workers hoped that from December 1986 to June 1987 external and internal problems of the project could be resolved. In meetings of the village panchayat,.SEWA workers planned to discuss the hostile attitude of high caste people towards the project and thereby control destructive actions such as the uprooting of saplings and filling in boundary trenches. Secondly, there were internal struggles among village women themselves. Scheduled-caste women did not want to be led by women of middle-castes. SEWA had, on the other hand, already trained some middle-caste women for leadership roles during its "improved chulha campaign" in the village. Now they needed time to establish a better rapport with scheduled-caste women.
Several farmers in Ganeshpura had also planted forest tree seedlings on their farm boundaries. Again, due to drought these seedlings had all died.
Food resources found in the forest ecology are used by the tribals in Bansda to carry them through periods of relative food shortage and thus to save tnemselves from virtual starvation. Recourse to gathering is presently limited to the following varieties of food
Tubers - In Bansda region, tribals are able to collect eight to ten types of yam (wild tubers). Before consumption, the tubers and bulbs are kept in running water for a whole day and then washed repeatedly before boiling. Large quantities of tubers are collected during the monsoon season when tribals depend on them almost as staple diet.
Edible plants - A generic term for the edible greens is 'bhaji'. In the region, tribals gather about twenty kinds of 'bhaji', primarily available during the summer and rainy seasons. Each family is able to collect about 17 to 20 kg of 'bhaji' during the four to five months. A leafy vegetable called Tera is collected a fortnight after the advent of rains and offered to the ancestors and the mountain deity before anyone is allowed to consume it. The ritual is known as the festival of Terasan. It is believed that the blessings of the ancestors and the mountain deity provide the tribals with the leafy vegetable in abundance so that they may cross the difficult period of food shortage. Young shoots of bamboo (vasdi) are also used as a vegetable, and mushroom collection is also quite common in this area.
Wild fruits - Wild fruits are eaten by the tribals on the way to and from work to ward off starvation. Children are the main consumers of wild fruits and therefore also the traditional gatherers of a wide variety of fruits.
The most important among the fruits, Mahuda, is used by tribals in different ways. Mahuda flowers are eaten as a vegetable. Its kernel Is used for making butter (ghee). It is also used for distilling an alcoholic drink. An average household gathers about 20 kg of this fruit per year.
Tribals know how edible roots, leafy vegetables and wild fruits should be processed for human consumption and sometimes take them as full meals. The subsistence activity of gathering edible plants is supplemented by fishing. Various plants (e.g., aritha (Sapindu laurifolius) and pandharphali (Secu ringaga virosa) are used as fish-poison to catch fish easily.
Many tribals identify a number of roots, tubers, creepers, herbs and shrubs as medicinally valuable. Usually the medical practitioners among them have a thorough knowledge and experience of gathering and using these medicinal plants. For example, dhadhed kand (Dioscoraceae family) is used for snake bites, umbar (Ficus gloracemosa) is used for stomach aches and bible (Pterocarpyus marsupium) and rohini (Soymida febrifunga) are used for treating leucoderma.