Toko-Patta (Livistona jenkinsiana Griff): Adi community and conservation of culturally important endangered tree species
Arunachal Pradesh, being a largest state of Northeast India, harbours great number of plant species which are endemic to region. The diversity and endemism of state has kept it in the category of biodiversity hot-spot. Though, in recent past, numbers of plant species are being listed as rare, endangered and threatened because of increasing threats from anthropogenic and other natural factors. In the list of threatened species, Livistona jenkinsiana Griff- locally called, Toko by the Adi tribe has also been mentioned. Based on the village and forest survey, initially it was observed that Toko is good in numbers and conserved by the tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh. This dichotomy of Toko being reported as threatened and actual large number of population maintained by tribes has necessitated conducting the study in the East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The study was conducted during 2005-2008. East Sing and Adi tribe have been selected purposively. A sample of 303 male (138) and female (165) Adi members were chosen as the respondents of the study. The ecological attributes of the species, biocultural dimensions, gender role, institutional relation and conservation of species in varying habitats were studied. Using personal interview and PRA methods data were collected. Results indicate that Toko is conserved in jhum lands, Morang forest and home gardens at the larger scale. The women play a significant role in conservation of this species. Number of bioculturally important products is made out of the leaves and fruits of Toko. Indigenous institution has still great role to control overexploitation of this species and solve the dispute on Toko. This species is conserved at large scale on the individual ownership; however, the collective conservation of Toko in Morang forest by the Adi tribe is an appreciable effort. From six villages, total 33,026 numbers of trees were recorded in 2008 at the range of 110-180 m altitude.