Are minor forest products truly ‘minor’ in forest fringe social life?
A number of forest communities have been living in forest fringe areas of the south-western part of the state of West Bengal, India for centuries. From this dry-deciduous Sal (Shorea robusta) forest area, forest villagers collect forest products for their daily household needs as well as they also sell a proportion of products at the local market. In socio-cultural life of these forest communities, the surrounding forest has a great impact. Minor forest products or non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are used for medicine, worship, decoration, jewellery, food, fodder, firewood etc. As the physiography of the region is not suitable for agricultural activities and the irrigation system is not developed enough, the surrounding forest plays a significant role in forest livelihoods. Nonetheless, the uses of NTFPs in the social life of these socio-economically deprived communities (mostly tribal and/or indigenous) are quite apparent.