Study on socioeconomic status of wetland dependent communities of Kapla beel of Barpeta district of Assam, India: A case study
Upen Deka and Tapan Dutta
This paper is an attempt to study the impacts of Kapla beel on the socio-economic conditions of the people living in its vicinity. The study revealed that Kapla beel was very rich in biodiversity as well as important for local fisheries and was the only source of livelihood of the poor villagers living in its adjacent areas. Significanty, land use and land cover has negatively influence the livelihood of the villagers of Haldibari, Barkapla, and Solmara during the last few decades. Fishing is the primary occupation of the people of the fringe villagers representing 36%, 31.7% and 29.7% respectively. However 21% and 22% respondents are engaged in agriculture activities and only 12% each were found to be engaged in wage labour in Haldhibari and Solmara village. While in Barkapla village, 23% of the total respondent was found engaged in business activities and 13.4 % people depends on agriculture as a source of livelihood. The study recommends the development of a sustainable management plan which not only advocates for environmental education but acknowledges local community’s right to use the wetland resources through environmental-friendly and income generating enterprises. An alternative source of income for adjacent communities should be provided, making them less dependent on the wetland’s resources.
KEYWORDS: Biodiversity, livelihood, land use and land cover, management plan.