Rajasthan is a land of biological and cultural diversity. It also home a large number of tribal groups, pursuing different kinds of nature based livelihoods. In addition, a large number of farming, live stock rearing and nomadic groups posses traditional knowledge of varying degrees. The development of modern science and technologies notably biotechnology and information technologies have increased the value of biodiversity and associated knowledge including traditional knowledge. The growing importance of biodiversity, bio-resources and associated knowledge is fairly well understood. The first step towards conservation is sustainable utilization of biodiversity and its documentation in the form of People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs). These registers shall contain comprehensive information on availability and knowledge of local biological resources, local vaids, hakims and traditional health care practitioners using the biological resources and their medicinal or any other use. It is a comprehensive report of plant and animal species, landscape and people.
The guidelines regarding preparation of PBRs have been drafted, taking into consideration the different ecosystems. These guidelines include the rural, urban and protected areas. Further information may also be added to enrich the effort. Some of the important issues to be kept in mind, while preparing the PBRs, are as follows:
1. It has to be undertaken in a participatory mode involving varying sections of village society.
2. While documenting, the knowledge and views of both the genders have to be recorded.
3. The information provided by the people need to be collated, analyzed and cross-checked by the members of the technical support group, before documentation.
4. The PBR is important base document in the legal arena as evidence of prior knowledge and hence careful documentation is necessary.
5. The document will be endorsed by the BMC and later publicized in the Gram Sabha / Gram Panchayat / Panchayat Samiti. This document will be a very useful tool in the management and sustainable use of bio-resources. The document can also be a very useful teaching tool for teaching environmental studies at schools, colleges and university level.
6. The document will be periodically updated with additional and new information as and when generated.
The preparation of People’s Biodiversity Registers involves the active support and cooperation of a large number of people who need to share their common as well as specialized knowledge. Though no PBR has been prepared by now, but public awareness about importance and preparation of PBR has been raised.