Traditional Bio Resource Management Strategies of the Dimasas

The Dimasas who live in the glens and valleys of the lofty North Cacher Hills, are a culturally rich ethnic group of the North Eastern region of the country. Traditional knowledge of bioresources is a distinctive feature of the Dimasa tribe of Assam.

The traditional Dimasas do not cultivate a plot of Jhum land (land used for shifting cultivation) during consecutive years. A plot of Jhum land is cultivated for two to three years and then left uncultivated for several years. This system of cultivation allows the fertility of the land to recover naturally. Besides, Dimasas do not cultivate land where there are huge trees, rocks, sources of springs and ponds. Such prohibition helps preserve water and the trees from pollution and destruction.

Dr. Partha Pratim Baruah, Assistant Professor at the Department of Botany in Gauhati University, and his associates, have attempted to document the bio resources used by the Dimasas of the North Cacher Hills. On the basis of extensive research work, his team has prepared a monograph which has information on the traditional agricultural practices of Dimasas, their dietary habits and food management practices, bioresource-based ethno-medicinal practices, traditional fishing practices and folk crafts.

Source: Personal Interview with Dr P.P Baruah

Contributed by: Simanta Kalita, CEE North East

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