Traditional Knowledge relating to use of flora and fauna as indicators in predicting annual seasons among Karbi tribe of Assam
There exist a sound Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) among Karbis relating to prediction of annual seasons using flora and fauna and physical factors as indicators. Floral characters include leaf fall, formation of new leaves, flowering, fruiting and ripening, formation of tubers, etc. while faunal characters include courtship and mating, egg laying and hatching, aggressiveness, appearance of a particular species and many more. Physical factors comprise of moon, temperature, wind, rainfall, day length, etc. A Folk Calendar consisting of 12 months based on these indicators have been practicing among the people since time immemorial. Karbi New Year however, commences from 1st February, which has already received official recognition of the local government, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council. Floral and faunal and physical indicators are used primarily for jhum cultivation such as time of selection of the plot, clearing of forest, burning of slash, tilling the soil, sowing and other activities related with jhum and secondly for harvesting forest resources and day-to-day activities. IKS is fast losing its ground among Karbis mainly due to acculturation and destruction of forests, the natural habitat where Indigenous Knowledge was born and evolved and change of habitat from hills to plains.