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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 315-326

Socio-economic and Environmental Implications of the Decline of Chilgoza Pine Nuts of Kinnaur, Western Himalaya


Research undertaken under: Fulbright Nehru Academic & Professional Excellence Award, and affiliated with the Institute of Economic Growth at Delhi University, New Delhi, India, India

Correspondence Address:
Aghaghia Rahimzadeh
Research undertaken under: Fulbright Nehru Academic & Professional Excellence Award, and affiliated with the Institute of Economic Growth at Delhi University, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_19_17

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Pinus gerardiana, or chilgoza pine nut, has played a significant socioeconomic role for the Kinnauri Tribal Peoples of Western Himalaya. This native species is declining, however, and as a result, so too is its role in the local culture, landscape, and economy. This paper is based on longitudinal ethnographic research conducted between 2010-2018. I discuss socio-economic and environmental changes that have been leading to the decline in chilgoza production in Kinnaur. Findings suggest several factors contributing to this decline. As the commercialisation of apple production gains prominence, the traditional collective harvesting and distribution practices of chilgoza are losing importance. Contemporary harvesting practices contribute to long-term damage of the tree and therefore decline in seed production and regeneration. Climate change and a general reduction in winter snowfall have also been diminishing production. Chilgoza decline can potentially reduce the diversification of the broader Kinnauri economy, possibly placing Kinnauris at risk, as they become dependent on a single cash crop. Here, I illustrate the story of the chilgoza pine nut of Kinnaur and explain the social and environmental factors and implications of its decline.


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