Abstract # 127:

Scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2005 03:00 PM-03:15 PM: Session 10 (Mayfair Room) Oral Presentation

A Working Conservation Strategy for the Golden Langur (Trachypithecus geei) in Assam, India

R. H. Horwich
Community Conservation, 50542 One Quiet Lane, Gays Mills, WI 54631, USA
     The golden langur, one of India’s most endangered primates, is endemic to western Assam and Bhutan. In the past decade over a third of the golden langur’s range has been lost due to a complex political situation. The Golden Langur Conservation Project has brought together five non-governmental organizations (NGOs), focusing on different regions, to protect the complete Indian range of the species. The NGOs coordinate over 80 communities to replant and protect forests around their villages. These villages are creating buffer forests within, around and adjacent to protected areas by actively protecting their forests. The basic strategy is to: 1) engage regional NGOs to focus on all langur populations in the entire range, 2) focus the NGOs’ community work on empowering economic, reforestation and forest protection groups, 3) create community tree nurseries to supply reforestation, 4) have NGOs carry out conservation awareness/education, and 5) carry on langur censusing. Two formal tools used with communities are Joint Forest Management (JFM) and Self-help Groups (SHG). JFM community groups replant forests under agreements with the Assam Forest Department to benefit from these plantings. SHGs develop alternative village incomes by collectively saving money to develop micro-enterprises such as fisheries, livestock and crop projects and weaving. Active protection by communities such as signage in their forests, patrolling and confronting encroachers bodes well for the success of the program.