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Longleng’s YCBCA undertakes biodiversity project

Longleng’s YCBCA undertakes biodiversity project
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/24/2019 4:38:33 AM IST

 A SHORT PROFILE OF LEMSACHENLOK, IN THE AREA OF COMMUNITY DEVELOMENT AND BIO-DIVERSITY CONSERVATION UNDER YAONGYIMCHEN

Three villages under Longleng district- Yaongyimchen, Alayong and Sanglu- have become catalysts for conservation of biodiversity through their own initiatives aimed at sustainability and without depending on the government. The three villages have formed the Yaongyimchen Community Biodiversity Conservation Area (YCBCA) which is maintained by a committee under the aegis of Lemsachenlok organisation spearheaded by churchman Nuklu Phom.
The area is now a safe haven for has become one of the major roosting site for Amur Falcons in the state. It is a habitat for 85 species of birds, including Amur falcons, 15 species of frogs, as well as leopards, barking deer, serows and otters etc. 
Yaongyimchen Alayong and Sanglu (migrated/outshoot villages from Yaongyimchen) under the Society LEMSACHENLOK took up the issue of bio-diversity conservation from 2007. The plan wasn’t a success in the initial stages since the community had no financial support from any sector. Also, agriculture, selling firewood and timber and even hunting  was the only means of earning their livelihood for some. 
Again in 2008 December, LEMSACHENLOK took up the concern and presented to Citizen’s Annual General Body meeting where the matter was descriptively deliberated. However, convincing the economically constrained citizens was a big challenge when it came to implemetation. Despite so much resistance, the Citizen’s Body resolved to declare some forest areas as Yaongyimchen Bio-Diversity Conservation Area. During 2009 and 2010, the members continued to sensitize the people on expansion of the Bio-Diversity Conservation area and during its Citizen’s General Body Meeting December, 2010 resolved to establish Community Conservation Area. Since then, the entire Community worked towards conserving forest including rivers, preserving all the wild species. 
From 2011, the community reiterated the resolution adopted and decided to make the bio-diversity conservation and preservation concept more relevant to the Community. Thus,a  committee was formed to sensitize its entire citizens to conceptualize the issue of Community Conservation and get the entire community practically involve. 
Thus, during its student’s golden jubilee in December, 2012, the Yaongyimchen Community Bio-Diversity Conservation was officially launched through Alemtemshi Jamir (IAS) former chief secretary, Government of Nagaland. 
Yaongyimchen Community Bio-Diversity Conservation Area covers the entire forest area: Nyangchi, Owau, Awakung, Akching, Mangkoyo and rivers: Dula, Duthet, Shiung, Okyong.
Qualifying the concept of Community Bio-Diversity Conservation, logging, hunting and fishing in any form, use of gun, catapult, and any form of local trap, trapping or killing of amur falcons within its jurisdiction is strictly restricted. The community have undertaken the following measures: 
I. Few Community Initiatives under LEMSACHENLOK: 
1. LEMSACHENLOK is a Committee set up for planning, setting up programs and projects, monitoring and assessment of different community development programs. In brief, LEMSACHENLOK (a thinking, working, planning, fund raising society). Entire program of the Community is done under the Supervision of LEMSACHENLOK. Members of the LEMSACHENLOK and other well wishers voluntarily contribute funds for community welfare through which all the works have been executed. The community carry their own tiffin during every community work. 
2. Several innovative Watch Tower has been constructed by the Community which enables its visitors and wildlife watchers to have a perfect view of the Amur Falcons and also other Wild species which halts in the conservation area. 
3. An Innovative Community Bridge over 60 feet long stream has been constructed which leads to the Community Bio-Diversity Conservation Area and the Amur Falcon Roosting site. Since there is no other path during summer (for nearly 5 and half months), it is difficult to cross the stream. The bridge connects to the main Dikhu River.
4. Community Volunteers: LEMSACHENLOK has also arranged volunteers for a continuous routine check covering the entire conservation area. Members from the village council, students, staff and general public are divided into several groups, each group having 3 members. These groups take turns the entire year to check the Yaongyimchen Bio-Diversity Conservation Area. The Volunteers carry their own food and refreshment for the tour.
5. Community Road to the Conservation Areas: The community has constructed two link roads to the  community bio-diversity conservation areas from the National Highway 702: The first road is around 5 kilometres which leads toward a historical place, Peyong & Malong – two huge stones lying in the middle of a forest, traditionally believed to be of a woman and a man who went for collecting bamboo shoot, but having got late slept under a tree and finally turned into a stone.  The road connects to a bamboo tunnel where the visitors trek through the tunnel for 25-30 minutes and at the end of the tunnel the visitors are relieved to witness the Rich Bio-Diversity Conservation sites and during the season the visitors can have a perfect view of the Amur Falcon which roost in millions.  
The second community road is around 6 Kms stretching from the National Highway 702. The Road is constructed for several purposes: to fetch the tourist to the community bio-diversity conserved areas and to enable visitors see Amur Falcon roosting sites. The road also leads to huge and stretched stone called Mokhoyong Teveli where if someone strikes its small hole, a sudden wind gushes out. Some decades past the wind would invite a big storm. The passage through this road presents a perfect view of the forest conservation, one can witness different wild species along the road.
6. Yaongyimchen Community Health Centre: Seeing the health risk which took away many lives incurring huge expenditures, with cases of land, fields being mortgaged due to non repayment of loan from different individuals, LEMSACHENLOK resolved to establish a Community Health Centre. Two trained nurses are being appointed and paid by the community and a pharmacist with small remuneration who attends to community’s health services.    
7. Alijo - Community Morung Education Centre: During the student’s Golden Jubilee the Community also established a Morung Education where people between 7-25 years would come to the Morung every Friday. The Morung bring elders of the Village to impart traditions, cultures, etiquettes, moral lessons, arts, craft making. Meanwhile, college students tutor the students of the village on subjects like maths, science and english etc., etc.   One of the important foundations for sensitizing the entire citizen of Yaongyimchen in taking ownership of the Community initiative works is through the ALIJO.  Alijo is a decision making centre for any community work. Here Bio-Diversity matters are discussed. One of the successes of the forest conservation is due to the Morung centre of Education.   
8. World Environment Day: In the first week of June in the last 7 years, the Officers of LEMSACHENLOK have been engaged in preparing dramas, skits, songs, prayers and special speeches which is being distributed to churches, and the first Sunday of June is always observed as the World environment Sunday. Through this initiative, poaching has been reduced and in many places it has completely ceased. During the month of June, we also organize tree Plantation all over Nagaland. 
9. International Wildlife Week: In the International Wildlife week observed in the first week of November,citizens leaders take responsibility to sensitize people in safeguarding wild species. This is done by preparing special sermons which is distributed to all churches.  It has been resolved that the first Sunday of October will be observed as wildlife Sunday in all the churches. 
II. Handholding and concern towards land use: A recent Initiative:
Despite so much of challenges, extended jhum has been resolved from 2018. 
1. Shifting the Jhum to another location from its regular Cycle: The forest opposite the Community Conserved Areas which is also adjacent to the Amur Falcon Roosting site was suppose to be used for Jhum. However, with the request from LEMSACHENLOK, the community willingly accepted to shift this year’s Jhum to another location. This is a big success. 
2. Land Communitization: One of the achievements LEMSACHENLOK could bring is asking the individuals, families, clans to hand over their land to LEMSACHENLOK. If certain area of forest or a land is found capable of doing some developmental works for the entire community, the land owner will be willing to hand it over to the Community. This was a “Yaongyimchen Land Act” Passed in 22nd June, 2013 “Res. No. YCGM. No, 7. YCLA, 22/06/2013.”  
3. The success of the Community Bio-Diversity effort is the restoration of flora and fauna, and habitation of many wild species.  One of the most important achievements is the roosting of Amur Falcons in millions in the conserved areas.  
III. Escalating existing jhum practice to an augmented land use: 
1. Community’s resolution on land use for community development: communitization of forest and land: The Yaongyimchen Citizens comprising of three Villages –Yaongyimchen, Alayong and Sanglu, (Alayong and Sanglu are an outshoot villages of Yaongyimchen), have resolved to communitize forest and land.
2. Though the forest and land belongs to a clan and an individual, if the community wants it, the individual will lease it out to the community till such time the project remains. 
3. The community conservation gives shelter to different wild species and in the last 10 years, we have discovered hundreds of wild species in the Community Bio-Diversity Area. 
4. Millions of Amur Falcons roost in the bio-diversity conservation area every year.
5. Hunting is completely ceased in the entire village jurisdiction and even the rivers and streams are all conserved. 
6. Jhum for three years: Yaongyimchen Alayong and Sanglu Citizens have resolved to go for three years of jhuming from 2018. The Village Council on October 10, 2017 during JÜKDHOK (The community brings in their contribution of paddy for the Council and the Council Court decide the location for the forthcoming Jhum) resolved not to go for new jhum in 2018: 
“Yaongyimchen, Alayong and Sanglu Citizens through its Council Court resolved that in 2018 the community will not go for slash and burn new Jhum but continue with the previous year’s Jhum in order to reduce the deforestation.” 
7. Forest restoration and the benefit: With the shifting of the traditional jhum farming towards terrace farming and other alternative methods, farmers will continue to focus on the new projects and therefore, forest re-generation will take place. The jhum cycle will be expanded and this concept will contribute towards the conservation effort and climate change adaptation vision. 
8. Preserving indigenous Floral Species: Beside the condensing of slash and burn method of agriculture which has been practiced for many years, the 3 years continuous farming in the existing jhum field will definitely augment the forest restoration and regeneration of new species.
9. Every year, one forest area is completely slashed and burned and during which the indigenous floral species (natural trees, plants and all the local species) are completely made extinct. The effect is not just the standing and sprouted trees and other species, but it even wipes the root. This is one of the reasons how the indigenous floral species has disappeared. Therefore, the whole concept of Extended Jhum will let the Indigenous species to germinate and even save the existing ones. 
Historical and Monumental Resources to Draw eco Tourism:
i. Peyong & Malong - a stone traditionally believed to be of a Woman and a Man will draw the attention of tourist. 
ii. Broomstick Tunnel stretching nearly one Kilometre is being preserved without cutting will attract trekkers. 
iii. The huge and stretched stone called Mokhoyong Teveli which upon striking gushes out sudden wind through its hole will be another adventurous site.  
iv. Madaksa Yepjen: a stone cave believed to have sheltered some ancient people can also be developed to invite tourist.
v. Nalung Belang (Hornbill Peak): A huge rock in the middle of the lake which looks like a peak of a hornbill will be another site for tourism. 
vi. Deshi Lepjen (looking back): It was believed, when someone died, his/her spirit would come to a location called Deshi Lepjen and then the spirit turns back to take one final look at the village and remembering the dear ones cries for some time. With no other choice, drinks water and wash his/her face from a bowl carved out of stone and suddenly forgets all the earthly things and leaves for the final abode. Even today anyone passing through that location will unknowingly look back towards the village on the left side. 
A Thanksgiving Program of the Historic Third Round Trip of “Longleng” a Satelliet tagged Amur Falcon from Yaongyimchen Community Biodiversity Conservation Area and inauguration of community Projects were held on the 12th of November, 2019 at Yaongyimchen Village under Longleng District.
To mark the historic third round trip of ‘Longleng” on November 12, Dr. S. Imnameren, District Immunization Officer, member of LEMSACHENLOK welcomed guests on the Occasion said the humble village was honoured to have different guests led by the Director, HCL and her entire HCL team, the Deputy Commissioner and different other dignitaries. 
He also said, while several community development activities have been initiated by Lemsachenlok, one important areas of contribution was the establishment of the Chenlok Health Centre for economically poor village as there is no health facilities and this is a very important decision LEMSACHENLOK has made since its establishment in 2012.  
The Deputy Commissioner of the District M. Shayung Phom, in his  speech on behalf of the district, said he was privileged to be invited and be part of this historic event. The DC stated, that he had heard so much about Amur Falcons and having been posted here, he has taken every measure to stop shooting Amur Falcons and even issued an order to all the villages under Longleng district for complete restriction because if the satellite tagged bird “Longleng” is shot, the universal blame would come upon the district. 
M. Shayung Phom said apart from Yaongyimchen Community’s effort  in preserving Amur Falcon, its effort in setting aside a huge area of Forest as Community Biodiversity is being appreciated and is an example for other communities. He also congratulated the community for initiating in Satellite tagging of Longleng which has completed its third round trip. 
Beizo Soukhrie (IFS), the District Forest Officer said, the historic program could be organized because of the contribution of Yaongyimchen, Alayong and Sanglu Community, who resolved to set aside a large area of their ancestral forest and rivers as a community biodiversity conservation area adding that the historic program is relevant and practical because of the Satellite tagged Amur Falcon Bird with its Name “Longleng” after its District Name. 
He said there has been several testing time for scientists, the government department and the community because “Longleng”  lost its signal on two occasions, the last incident was on October 14, 2019 when  “Longleng”  went completely blank, and stopped transmitting signal for nearly 8 days. Even Scientists who were engaged in tagging Longleng had given up hope. At this point, the Yaongyimchen community organized a prayer for Longleng to start transmitting signal and once again from November 21, 2019, she started sending signals of her status. The DFO added, the prayer of the community has sent out a great message to the world that the Power of God is still active, He has control over everything and He has given this power in prayer to those who prayer with faith. 
Beizo also articulated that when people are becoming so individualistic and self-centered, here is a community that unites for many noble purposes. He said, I have seen them carrying their tiffin and working together as a community and the villagers contribute whatever they have for the development of the Village. This is because of the good leadership in the village council and the trust the community has towards their leaders.
He said the Yaongyimchen citizens have set aside a huge forest area for community biodiversity conservation which gives shelter to Amur Falcons and hundreds of species which is a gigantic step in convincing community members, the land and forest owners to agree and join this venture. This is a huge contribution to the global family while many species are becoming extinct and a threat to the global family.   
Rev. Dr. Chingmak Kejong, Secretary, ECS in his Solidarity message expressed his appreciation to the community for coming together to engage in the most crucial problem of this century. He said Yaongyimchen citizens have chosen to contribute towards the improvement of decaying environment which has earned a good name then looking for riches which is very biblical. He also said people can still sustain even without eating wild meat because we have sufficient meat at home. He pointed out that the community’s effort to end hunting to safeguard wildlife is globally recognized and has earned an admirable reputation because people have started talking about the village and its contribution. He stressed that Leaders like Nuklu would never betray the community, and therefore, it is imperative that the community members continue to give more and go further in this venture.  
The special guest of the occasion,  Nidhi Pundhir director, Hindustan Computer Limited (HCL) Foundation, expressed gratitude on behalf of the HCL Team for the invitation to this  historic event. Being on her first visit to Nagaland, she expressed that what she saw was more beautiful and she was overwhelmed than what she had imagined in her dream and from what she heard.
In her speech, Nidhi expressed, “as all are tracking the Beautiful Bird “Longleng” through using technology, representing HCL which also stands for technology, she said the entire team is very proud to be part of this historic occasion. 
Nidhi said when the Amur Falcon story was narrated of how they came in big numbers, she didn’t believe it, but having witnessed it, she realized that the Government must be very proud of the initiative of the community and by preserving this Amur Falcon, the community has become a global heritage. 
Commenting on the contribution of Yaongyimchen, Alayong and Sanglu Villages toward Safeguarding Amur Falcons and hundreds of wild species and other micro organisms, Nidhi said no one else is doing what they doing for conservation. She said she had travelled to more than 40 countries but the amount of love and affection for a wild species especially Amur Falcons which flies from Siberia is never been seen anywhere. She added that if the birds are going to get so much love and affection, Longleng and many more like Longleng, will make many trips to the lovely setting.
Nidhi said, “If today we are worried about something, we are worried about human destroying everything. I feel very guilty when I travel, I becoming a part of this by adding carbon footprints because when the plane flies and on road trips, our foot prints happen and when our thermal radiation happens we are contributing towards  global warming and we are becoming the biggest threat to the environment. 
Nidhi said when she learnt that “Longleng” couldn’t be tracked for many days and the whole world was waiting to find out what happened to the lone surviving satellite tagged bird, she was  overwhelmed to learn that Yaongyimchen Community were praying for “Longleng,” adding that they were actually praying not just for “Longleng but  for the planet earth to survive and everyone. 
 She thanked everyone who worked, researched, those working on mass afforestation, water conservation.  He said, “Having heard that the Amur Falcon population have increased from thousands to many lakhs, and you have resolute to expand the Conservation initiative to the other side of the valley and invite others to join in this venture, you have completely stopped hunting, this is a big sacrifice and this is a huge leap in your day to day life, and this is a big contribution to the world and this needs to be documented and this should be served as a model to the rest of the world. In fact, initiatives such as this is rather historic, Yaongyimchen community is making a History.” 
Nidhi assured that what she has seen will be recommended to the Board and that the entire expedition will be talked globally to conservationists. She said she would testify about a community who is actually not talking about human and wildlife conflict but actually praying that globally nurtured species comes back to their Biodiversity site again and again and they come together for thanksgiving for a species that has survived, adding that this is a noble cause.  
Nidhi said she had attended and had seen many thanksgiving for people to people, a selfish interest of humans, but this is the first thanksgiving program she is attending for a bird.” This story needs to be told everywhere. 
She also said, she comes from a city where the pollution level is very bad and there was an emergency situation because the air was so unclean and thousands of people got into an asthma attack, and breathing problem is very serious because there is no Oxygen to breathe and that people are breathing Carbon dioxide and chemical. We have killed our nature in cities by cleaning the land for personal use, constructing high rise buildings. 
While in big towns and cities there are plastics and notorious waste getting into the air, water and the soil, it is killing the planet. She said a community preserving the environment are the richest people, if ever someone can find richness, it is here because you have clean air, lovely nature and you have taken further oath so much so that Falcons comes back here every year.  
Nidhi remarked, that this exercises needs to be expanded to the larger community which really need to take oath like you. She said, in our context, “we need more of Nuklus and society such as LEMSACHENLOK in this amazing journey of saving the Global world, and expressed her gratitude to the Team Leader for the Visionary Leadership. 
Other speakers who spoke included Chairman, Chuchuyimlang Village Council; Chairman, Yachem Village Council. Dr.Limamanen, member of LEMSACHENLOK gave details of the Biodiversity register, the biography description of the Flora and Fauna of Yaongyimchen Community Biodiversity. 
Mongnyei Longkhum Longleng Town (a women group of Yaongyimchen settled in Longleng) presented a salutatory folk music welcoming guests and asking blessings of God upon the leaders and the guests. 
Chuchuyimlang Village Youth presented a cultural folk dance sending a message of the bond Yaongyimchen and Chuchuyimlang have cultivated since time immemorial and how they have cherished throughout all generation. The Chairman in his speech said the relationship is inscribed in stone and this bond is treasured in the heart.  
The program was chaired by Rev. T. Lipokkatang,  scripture reading and invocation by Nganlang, pastor Yaongyimchen Baptist Church and benediction by Purtemsu, Pastor, Alayong Baptist Church. The Program was also attended by chairmen and council members of Yangpi, Longra, Unger, Changtongya and other neighbouring villages under Longleng District.   
Y. Nuklu Phom, chairman and team leader of LEMSACHENLOK, expressed Vote of thanks to all participants. 
(Y NUKLU PHOM)
 Chairman & Team Leader, LEMSACHENLOK

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