What are Orans?

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What are Orans? Blog Image

Overview:

Communities, particularly those in western Rajasthan, are concerned about the state’s proposal to classify orans (sacred groves) as deemed forests.

About Orans

  • Orans are traditional sacred groves found in Rajasthan.
  • These are community forests, preserved and managed by rural communities through institutions and codes that mark such forests as sacred.
  • There are often local deities associated with Oran.
  • They are rich in biodiversity and usually include a water body.
  • Communities in Rajasthan have been conserving these Orans for centuries, and their lives have been intricately linked around these spaces. 
  • Orans are also spaces where herders take their livestock for grazing and are places for communal congregations, festivals, and other social events, the performance of which is linked to agrarian rhythms and the continued commitment of the communities towards environmental conservation. 
  • Orans also form the natural habitat for India’s most critically endangered bird, the Great Indian Bustard (GIB), a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act, which is also the State bird of Rajasthan. 

What are Sacred Groves?

  • Sacred Groves are relic forest patches traditionally protected by communities in reverence of a deity.
  • Sacred Groves form important repositories of forest biodiversity and provide refuge to many plant and animal species of conservation significance.
  • India has well over 13,000 documented Sacred Groves.
  • Sacred groves are found all over India, especially in states like Maharastra, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. 
  • These are known as Kavu/Sarpa Kavu in Kerala, Devarakadu/
    Devkad in Karnataka, Deorai/Devrai in Maharashtra, Jahera/Thakuramma in Odisha, etc.

Q1) What is a Community Reserve?

Conservation reserves and community reserves in India are terms denoting protected areas of India which typically act as buffer zones,connectors, and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved and protected forests in India. Such areas are designated as conservation reserves if they are uninhabited and completely owned by the Government of India but used for subsistence by communities, and community reserves if part of the land is privately owned. These protected area categories were first introduced in the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act of 2002, an amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) of 1972. 

Source: Villagers oppose declaring ‘orans’ as deemed forests, fearing loss of access and livelihood