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Human caterpillar

November 27, 2017
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarakhand
The picture is among my favorites as it shows two important sides of the social-ecological systems in Himalaya viz., hardship of local women who form the backbone of hill economy and the anthropogenic pressure on the natural systems including forests in the region. In recent decades, the excessive extraction practices have taken its toll on forests resulting in degradation and fragmentation of these forests, thus, jeopardizing both natural wealth and the economy of forest-dwelling communities. This has augmented the adversity of women who are fundamental in providing labor to sustain local economy. In the scenario of outmigration of male members, the already existing gender gap in the workload distribution in the traditional agrarian societies widens. Women have to compromise with their leisure time, working harder for ensuring well-being of family while walking larger distances for bringing resources.