Bamboo - The ‘Timber’ of Mao-Naga Community
Keywords:Bamboo, Traditional Knowledge, Mao-Naga, Folk taxonomy, conservation, agriculture
Background: Bamboos are group of plants of wide ranging cultural and economic values to local communities. The present study was carried out to understand the importance of bamboos for the Mao-Naga community of Manipur, India, and the associated Traditional Knowledge.
Methods: Ten artisans (two females and eight males) were selected purposively for the study. Open-ended interviews conducted in person, and telephonic interviews were used to collect data. Prior Informed Consent (PIC) was taken from the knowledge partners prior to the interview. Voucher specimens have been deposited in Central National Herbarium (CAL), India.
Results: Our study records the uses and associated traditional knowledge on six bamboo species. The Mao-Naga are capable of distinguishing species from their taste, texture and physical appearance. Except Bambusa pallida, all other species are consumed. In addition, the Mao-Naga also consume bamboo borers (Omphisa fuscidentalis) infesting bamboos. Bamboos are used in traditional soil conservation techniques. Bamboos also play an important role in the community’s calendric system, as seasonal indicators.
Conclusion: The traditional knowledge recorded in this study would be of help to the community in planning bamboo harvesting, mitigating soil erosion, soil conservation and maintain agricultural productivity. We recommend that value addition in bamboo crafts, bamboo shoots and bamboo borers should be promoted for enhancing livelihood security.
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