Abstract for: The Livelihood-Energy-Conservation Nexus: Intervention strategies to promote conservation in forest villages

In this paper, we present results from a modeling excercise to understand human pressures on a forest sanctuary in Rajasthan, India. For the very poor energy insecure households and communities located inside and in proximity to the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, harvesting forest resources from the government sanctuary constitutes a critical source of livelihood. The sanctuary, supports in varying degrees the need for fuelwood, timber, grassy fodder, and other non-timber forest products in 160 villages in the area. At this rate, the pressures on resource extraction from the sanctuary are alarmingly high and it is being denuded rapidly. This study utilizes participatory appraisal techniques and community-based participatory model building, combined with expert testament to trace and examine local behavior patterns to identify routes of intervention to stem resource extraction from the sanctuary. The resulting System Dynamics Model highlights employment, buffer zone management, and household energy efficiency as three possible routes that could directly reinforce conservation efforts and reduce sanctuary degradation without disrupting the livelihoods of the implicated communities. Strategies of intervention are discussed therein. The goal is to use this excercise to assist Foundation for Ecological Security in designing effective interventions to protect forests and ensure human security.