|Indigenous technology knowledge for watershed management in upper north-west Himalayas of India (1998)|
|Chapter 1 - Bio-physical and socio-economic set up in the Indian Upper Himalayas|
Indigenous knowledge in the Himalayan region is the inter-generational wisdom of local inhabitants to perform their livelihood operations in a most eco-friendly manner under remote, isolated and inaccessible conditions; characterized by harsh climate and limited survival options. Since this knowledge is transferred orally from one generation to the next, it is dynamic in dissemination and scientific in indigenous experimentation; receiving constant stimuli from outside. However, indigenous not only stands for ingrained intrinsic knowledge, but is also amenable to modifications based on latest technical know-how by local inhabitants through native means to suit their daily requirements. Therefore, to discard any indigenous knowledge on connotations of superstition, conservatism, primitivism etc. by modem science would only result into a failure of the developmental networks. Evidences have shown that the developmental projects which overtly rejected already acquired knowledge of the local inhabitants, have failed to achieve their targets.
Throughout Himalayan region, watershed resource use and productivity is based on crops, horticulture, pastures and forestry which is largely influenced by geographical and environment diversity prevailing in its different zones.
The wide variations in altitude and other agro-climatic parameters such as rainfall and temperature, broadly classify Himalayan region into four major agro-climatic zones. These include (1) the low hills and valleys near the plains, (2) the middle hills and valleys with sub-humid climate, (3) high mountains and valleys with temperate climate and (4) cold dry desert zone.
In this document, ITK for upper Himalayas comprising of high mountains and valleys with temperate climate and cold dry deserts are described/presented.
Before turning to ITK per se, it is pertinent to present a brief glimpse of the two regions under consideration. First, the cold desert region and then the temperate zone of the western Himalayas/Indian Upper Himalayas.