Areca and the law of the jungle

The small, door-less thatched hut — only large enough to shelter one person — looks out of place, standing alone on the forest’s edge. As we approach it, an acrid smell hits us. Grey smoke wafts from a wood fire on the floor, above which is a large batch of uppage or Malabar tamarind halfway through the process of curing.

Rudra Gowda, an areca and paddy farmer in Hukkali village in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district, collected the uppage from a soppinabetta (a forest patch allocated to him) nearby. “We get only Rs. 80 per kilo of uppage now, but it is very useful,” he says. “The oil from the seeds is good for cooking and we make alcohol with the fruit.”

The soppinabettas of northern Karnataka harbour a staggering diversity of trees, and fruit extraction is just one of the economic activities that these heavily-managed forests support.....Read more


Source web page:The Hindu

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