Chottaudepur is a tribal dominated taluka, with 86.5% categorized as Schedule tirbes, located in eastern hilly tracts of Vadodara District of Gujarat State, India. Inspite of recent trend of deforestation large part of the taluka is still under forest. The forest areas of Chhota Udepur play important hydrological and ecological role downstream regions as it forms catchments for Orsang, a major tributary of Narmada river. The forests form the southern most boundary of Ratanmahals Wildlife Sanctuary abode of endangered species like sloth bear, leopard and flying squirrel. Locals are dependant on the forests, for minor forest produce and fuel wood. Agriculture is the major occupation with nearly 48% of the total land is under agriculture. However, 70% of agriculture is dependent on rain. After taking one crops these people either depend of forest produces or labour work in near by urban centre for their livelihood. This additional money is spent for vegetable purchase, mirages and house repairs etc,.
Maize is the major crop with contributing 30% of total cropped. Other important crops are peddy, tur, vegetable and fruits. Maize is the staple food in the region. Tribal don’t buy or sale maize from the market. People store maize for their annual consumption. However with the very low income large part of the population (63%, in 2002) is below poverty line. The average annual rainfall is around 800 mm, rainfall is erratic here and the district is drought prone. Hilly, sloppy terrains doesn’t hold good amount of ground water. Even during normal monsoon year, people have to travel long distance in summer for the potable ground water. With recent threats of climate change there is bound to increase the erratic nature of rainfall. The population is highly vulnerable to droughts and crop failure due to climate changes.
To face drought, several small schemes are being initiated by local NGOs for rain water harvesting and water shed management. However these are...
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