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Article in Food Security · June 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s12571-012-0186-z

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Wild edible fruit diversity and its significance in the livelihood of indigenous tribals: Evidence from eastern India

Ajay K. Mahapatra & Pratap C. Panda

Food Security The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food

ISSN 1876-4517

Food Sec. DOI 10.1007/s12571-012-0186-z

Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food ISSN 1876-4517 Food Sec. DOI 10.1007/s12571-012-0186-z
Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food ISSN 1876-4517 Food Sec. DOI 10.1007/s12571-012-0186-z

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Food Sec. DOI 10.1007/s12571-012-0186-z

ORIGINAL PAPER

ORIGINAL PAPER

Wild edible fruit diversity and its significance in the livelihood of indigenous tribals: Evidence from eastern India

Ajay K. Mahapatra & Pratap C. Panda

Received: 9 February 2011 /Accepted: 27 March 2012 # Springer Science+Business Media B.V. & International Society for Plant Pathology 2012

Abstract A number of wild plants, used by rural and tribal populations and contributing significantly to their livelihood and food security have escaped recognition and scientific inquiry. Their distribution, conservation, mode of harvest by locals and optimal use require region-specific assessment in order to integrate them into developmental interventions. This study analyzed the collection, consumption, sale and income from edible forest fruits in 49 tribal villages spread over five districts of Orissa State in eastern India. Density, dominance and diversity of species yielding wild fruit were measured by studying ecological parameters in the sample plots. We estimated an average of 48 fruit plants per hectare of deciduous forests. Fifty-six wild edible fruit species be- longing to 40 genera in 26 families were recorded in the study region, many of which have multiple uses. Indigenous fruits formed part of the family diet with average annual consumption of 73 kg per household. Sale of wild fruits contributed 15 % of income for tribal households. Despite their good knowledge of indigenous fruits, the tribal pop- ulations have not adopted fruit tree farming which would enhance their nutrition and income.

Keywords Forest food . Food security . Wild edible plant species . Natural products . Tribal economy

A. K. Mahapatra ( *) : P. C. Panda Regional Plant Resource Center, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India e-mail: otelp@rediffmail.com

P. C. Panda e-mail: pcpanda2001@yahoo.co.in

Introduction

Food and nutritional security are key concerns the world over as low food intake and poor access to food in under- developed countries remain unresolved issues (Andersen et al. 2003; Adebooye and Phillips 2006). Feeding in excess of 800 million undernourished people depends not only on increased productivity of the limited number of domesti- cated crops of the modern world but also the use of underutilized wild species (Farooq and Azam 2002). The latter and their natural products make significant contribu- tions to the human and animal food web and are often a means of survival for millions of poor rural households (Belcher et al. 2005; Fisher 2004; Narendran et al. 2001; Scherr et al. 2004 ). Uses of non cultivated foods, of which wild fruits form a part, as a diet supplement, or as a coping mechanism in times of food shortage, pro- vides an important safety net for the rural poor (McSweeny 2004 ; Takasaki et al. 2004 ) especially in Africa (Mojeremane and Tshwenyane 2004; Getachew et al. 2005; Redzic 2007). There is now greater recognition that products from the wild may support household subsistence and also that income may be generated from their sale, either in raw or processed forms. This recognition has prompted investigation of the diversity of species that are used and their relation to the socio-economic status of those who use them (Mahapatra et al. 2005; Bharucha and Pretty 2010). Some wild plants and edible fruits are important con- stituents of biodiversity and their exploitation has become a valuable livelihood strategy and fall back option for rural households during periods of nutritional stress (Bell 1995 ). In semiarid zones in particular, reliance upon wild food plants during famine, or by those affected by AIDS is common (Guinand and Dechassa 2000 ; Kebu and Fassil 2006 ; Dovie et al. 2002 ). As Mojeremane and Tshwenyane

AIDS is common (Guinand and Dechassa 2000 ; Kebu and Fassil 2006 ; Dovie et al.

Author's personal copy

A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda

( 2004 ) noted, when arable agriculture fails in poor rainfall years, indigenous fruits help to reduce the deficit of food availability to rural households. Hunter et al. (2009) have empirically established that food insecurity in rural Lebanese communities is a driving force for increased use of wild edible plants. In Zimbabwe, vulnerability to poverty was found to be determined, among other factors, by the degree to which indigenous fruits are used or are available to overcome lean times (Mithöfer and Waibel 2004). Wild fruits contribute to diet diversity and flavour as well as providing essential micro- nutrients in an otherwise bland and nutritionally poor diet (Bell 1995; FAO 2005). The majority of the tribal communities of India live close to or within forests and depend on wild products and bio- mass for food and energy needs (Mohapatra and Sahoo 2010 ; Bahuguna 2000 ; Mahapatra and Mitchell 1997 ). Such communities have distinct socio-cultural traditions and food habits. These are informed by knowledge of the varied flora found between the Himalayan foothills and the Central plateau (Pandey et al. 2007 ; Sundriyal and Sundriyal 2001 ; Maikhuri et. al. 2004 ). Historically, tribal and rural people identified and collected plants for food and medicine from forests and developed a range of processing methods in accordance with their needs. With modernization and settled agriculture, this knowledge is becoming lost, a trend that may lead to decreased diversity of indigenous diets and poorer nutrition (Dwebe and Mearns 2011 ). Site specific studies have recorded consumption of wild edibles by tribals and the rural poor in a few locations in India (Sundriyal et al. 2004 ; Misra et al. 2008 ), but generally information on edible indigenous fruits is s cattered in botanical mono- graphs, informal notes and tribal oral traditions. The useful properties of non domesticated crops known in local com- munities requires proper study and documentation in order to validate, quantify and spre ad this useful knowledge (Edison et al. 2006 ). Information on wild foods and rural household uses has the potential to address food insecurity and can act as a low cost option in development programs for the poor. Population profiling and standardizing protocols for propagation of these plant groups could contribute to conserving the gene pool which has suffered from the tragedy of the commons(Hardin 1968). The present study aims to fill this knowledge gap for the eastern Indian state of Orissa, where tribal communities exploit several natural products including wild fruits for both subsistence and cash income. The objective of the study is to (i) make an ethno botanical inventory of wild fruits, and their uses and preferences by different tribal communities in the region and (ii) to quantify their harvest, consumption and trading. This is expected to emphasize the value of food obtained from the wild, and the necessity of conserving the plants that produce it. Further, the sustainable use of such plants, their contribution to development and perhaps, in the

their contribution to development and perhaps, in the long run, their domestication are discussed. (Asfaw and

long run, their domestication are discussed. (Asfaw and Tadesse 2001).

Materials and methods

Characteristics of the study area

The study was conducted in the Mayurbhanj, Gajapati, Kondhamal, Koraput and Sambalpur districts of Orissa state (Fig. 1 ). Lying between 81° 24 and 87° 29 East longitudes and 17° 48 and 22° 34 North latitudes, Orissa state is situated on the eastern coast of the Indian Peninsula. The state experiences high temperatures (mean maximum tem- perature of 38.3°C and minimum temperature of 15°C) and receives an annual average rainfall of 1400 mm spread over 4 mon ths. The humidity level is high (74 84 %) for 4 5 months, mainly during the rainy season (June to Septem- ber). The other two seasons are winter (December to Febru- ary) and summer (March to June). Tribals constitute an important segment of the Indian population. Orissa state has the second largest tribal popu- lation (6.82 million) in the country with 62 different tribes. The most common ones in the study areas are the Kondh, Santal, Saora, Kolha, Munda and Juang. They are highly represented in the study districts making up between 19 and 68 % of the population, with two or three groups dominating a given area. The per-capita annual income of Orissa (INR 16,149) is low compared to the national average of about 75,000 INR (Planning Commission 2008 ) . Food insecurity (42 %), malnutrition and nutritional deficiency of children (41 %) and high infant mortality (69 per 1000) characterize the indigenous tribal communities of the region (Padhi et al. 2006 ; Anand Kumar 2003 ; Anonymous 2008 ). The UNWFP study profiles the area as one of the most highly food insecure pockets in India (MSSRF 2008 ) although

food insecure pockets in India (MSSRF 2008 ) although N Fig. 1 Map of Orissa state

N

Fig. 1 Map of Orissa state showing location of districts surveyed

Author's personal copy

Significance of wild edible fruits for tribals of Eastern India

tackling food insecurity in tribal districts has been a major thrust of state sponsored rural development in the region (GoO 2004 ). The diversified topography and variable climate of the state contribute to its rich and varied flora. Forest vegetation is typically dominated by Sal trees (Shorea robusta ) but is variously mixed with other deciduous trees. However, in the eastern Ghat and northern plateau region Sal is absent and the forest vegetation consists of mixed combinations of deciduous trees. The coastal region of the state has low forest cover (Cuttack 16 %, Baleswar 7 %, Puri 2 %), whereas in the central upland and eastern Ghat hilly regions the forest concentration is high and dense (Kandhamal 68 %, Raygada 44 %). About 58 % of the forests consist of Tropical Dry Deciduous types, 40 % are Tropical Moist Deciduous types and about 0.7 % comprise Semi-evergreen patches in moist valleys (FSI 2009 ). The constituent tree species of dry deciduous forest type, besides S. robusta (Sal), are; Terminalia alata, T. be llirica, Bombax ceiba, Anogeissus latifolia, Cochlospermum religiosum, Sterculia spp., Dalbergia spp., Cleistanthus patulus and Hymeno- dictyon orixene . Central Indian Subtropical Hill forests are found on hill-tops at about 1200 m. The forests in the districts studied are either Dry or Moist Deciduous, Sal dominated or mixed forest types, constituting 68 % of the geographical area in Kandhamal, 38 % in Mayurbhanj, 46 % in Sambalpur, 57 % in Gajapati and 19 % in Koraput districts.

Site selection and sampling

The study area comprised 49 villages and their forest col- lection areas, which were distributed in seven forest divi- sions in five districts of Orissa state with high representation of tribals (Gajapati 47 %, Kandhamal 51 %, Koraput 50 %, Mayurbhanj 57 %, Sambalpur 35 %). The sites were located across 5 major physiographic zones, principally classified on the basis of variation in altitude, annual rainfall and temperature. Mayurbhanj, representing the Northern Plateau , is an undulating upland, frequently intersected by hill ranges which extend to the Chotanagpur plateau of Jharkhand state. The Central River Basin is represented by the Bamra forests of Sambalpur District. The Koraput and Gajapti districts representing the Eastern Ghat Hill s, comprise a wide open upland plateau fringed by luxu- riant forests. In Gajapti, dry deciduous Sal predominates whereas in Koraput, the vegetation is of the Moist Deciduous Mixed type (Champion and Seth 1968 ). The Baliguda forest division of Kandhamal district comes under the Central Uplands . Our study covered an altitudinal range of 100 m in Sambalpur District to 900 m in Similipal in Mayurbhanj District. The Kondhs, Sauras, Mundas, Santal and Kolha are the major ethnic

groups, constituting the forest dependent rural house- holds of the studied region (Table 1 ).

Method of data collection and analysis

A review of forest working plans and past taxonomic sur-

veys of the region provided background information on the occurrence of wild fruit plants of the region. Field work was done in two phases. During the first phase, reserve forest blocks, which had good forest cover (crown density above

0.4 ), were subjectively selected in each of the seven forest divisions after consulting the local forest working plans. The grids of the topographical maps (1:50,000 scale), prepared by Survey of India and having at least 40 % crown cover, was listed, from which 50 grids were randomly selected for laying sample plots. Finally, 49 sample plots each of 0.05 hectare (100 m x 5 m transect) were laid over 46 forest blocks in 5 districts within a 5 km radius of the villages surveyed. All the edible fruit bearing species over 30 cm girth at breast height (GBH) were enumerated by surveyors recruited for the purpose and trained by the authors. The parameters measured were Basal Area (BA), Relative Density (RD), Relative Frequency (RF), Relative Abun- dance and Importance Value Index (IVI). These are defined

as follows:

BA

area occupied by stem of a given species (measured at

RD

breast height). number of trees of a given species /total number of trees of all species x100.

RF number of times a species occurs /total number of species x100

RA

total basal area of a species/basal area of all species x

100

IVI

sum of RD+RF+RA

The IVI value of a given species, expressed as a percentage

of the total IVI for all species in an area, was regarded as a

measure of its ecological significance (Curtis and Cottom 1956 ; Mueller-Dombois and Ellenberg 1974 ). In the second phase, villages from within 5 km of the border of the sampled forest reserves were surveyed with respect to picking of wild fruits and their use. Traditional village rights over forests are usually limited to within a 4 5 km radius of the village and are accessed by villagers for gathering firewood and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) including fruits. The fruit plant species were identified in consultation with local floras and by matching with authen- tic herbarium specimens. In addition, field trips to each village were undertaken with some collectors in order to locate wild fruit plants and t o tally the local vernacular names of plants with their botanical names. Voucher speci- mens were housed in the herbarium of the Regional Plant Resource Centre, Bhubaneswar. Primary data were collected

speci- mens were housed in the herbarium of the Regional Plant Resource Centre, Bhubaneswar. Primary data

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A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda

Mixed Deciduous

(Northern Hills)

Honey, Tassar,

Santal, Kolha

Mayurbhanj

Sal Leaf

14.4

5.4

2.9

11

Gajapati (Eastern Ghat Plain)

Mahua Flower,

Hill Deciduous

Tree Oilseed,

Saura

13.5

4.6

1.7

9

Tamarind, Broomstick,

Koraput (Eastern Ghat Hills)

Moist Mixed Forest

Tendu Leaf, Gum

Desia Kondh

14.4

1.8

10

5

Mahua, Char Seed, Tree Oilseed, Kendu Leaf

(Western Plateau)

Degraded Sal

Sambalpur

Munda

16.1

5.2

1.9

9

Gum, Myrobalans

(Central Uplands)

Mango, Jackfruit,

Moist Deciduous

Kutia Kondh

Kandhamal

Table 1 Socioeconomic features of the study area

15.4

2.15

5.9

10

Number of villages sampled

Average distance of villages from forests (in km) Average distance of villages from town (in km) Average distance of villages

Name of major tribal group

Major NTFPs traded

from local weekly market (in km)

Major Forest types

traded from local weekly market (in km) Major Forest types through both semi-structured and structured interviews

through both semi-structured and structured interviews ad- ministered to key informants and random households, re- spectively, in collaboration with local forest staff during the period March 2009 to August 2010. Village meetings were organized first in each village in order to list the wild fruits used by tribals for food and other purposes. Village meet- ings elicited valuable information on types of fruit, their preparation, culinary practices and other matters, which were subsequently authenticated in focus group discussions with women and traders dealing in wild fruits. These took the form of semi-structured interviews and were of value in a number of ways: they helped to reconcile contradictory information obtained from villagers, in estimating number of households collecting wild fruits in different seasons and in assessing the amount of each species of wild fruit col- lected in a village by the resident villagers. From the list of households who agreed to share knowledge of wild fruit and their uses, five households were randomly selected in each village for in depth interviews in order to gather information on frequency, season of collection, preference, attitude and quantity of fruits collected, consumed or sold. The Jaccard Coefficient of similarity (Jaccard 1908 ) was measured and a dendrogram based on similarity coefficients generated by the unweighted pair group method (Sneath and Sokal 1973 ) was made to compare similarity in fruit uses across districts. Annual household income obtained from different sources was recorded during the interview. A total of 245 informants was interviewed for data collection and authentication dur- ing the fieldwork. Data an alysis was done using SPSS statistics software version 10.

Results

Harvesting of wild fruit, their uses and tribal knowledge

Fifty-six fruiting plant species belonging to 40 genera and 26 families were harvested from natural stands and their habit, local names, parts used and mode of consumption are presented in Table 1 . The Moraceae (10.7 %) and Rhamnaceae (8.9 %) were the families with the highest

numbers of edible fruit species. Among the genera, Ziziphus and Ficus were the most highly represented with five spe- cies each followed by Grewia with four species. Trees and shrubs made up the highest proportion of edible wild fruit species 70 % tree, 19 % shrub and 11 % climbers. The majority of species (94.6 %) have only edible fruits, while both flower and fruits of Madhuca indica and Olax psitta- corum and leaves and fruits of Aegle marmelos , Antidesma acidum, Cordia dichotoma, Ericybe paniculata are eaten by locals. Many of the species have other uses, satisfying the communities needs for timber ( Bridelia retusa, Protium serratum, Syzigium cumini ), fuelwood ( Neonauclea

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Significance of wild edible fruits for tribals of Eastern India

cadamba), medicine ( Aegle marmelos, Gardenia gummi- fera, S. cumini, Allophylus serratus, Solanum torvum ) and cooking oil ( Schleichera oleosa, Madhuca indica ). Indigenous tribal communities had 12 different uses for the 56 wild edible fruit species, the average being 3.4 (Table 2 ). Major uses were as food, food adjuncts, vegeta- bles, beverages, cooking oils (from seed), spices and condi- ments, medicine and industrial products. The principal multipurpose species of the region are: Aegle marmelos, Citrus spp., Cordia dichotoma, Limonia acidissima, Phyl- lanthus emblica, Semecarpus acacardium, Spondias pin- nata, Artocarpus lacucha. Fruits of 41 species (73.2 %) are used in traditional medicine in addition to being used as food. Mature or immature fruits of 16 species are used as vegetables in the preparation of curries. Twelve species such as Aegle marmelos, Allophylus serratus, Ficus spp. and Madhuca indica are used in religious ceremonies and tribal rituals and fruits of seven species, such as Grewia spp., Lepisanthes tetraphylla , Phoenix acaulis , Uvaria hamiltonii are used only as food supplements. Diospyros melanoxylon (Tendu) fruits are very sweet, palatable and rich in minor minerals and nutrients whereas Jamun is known for its antioxidant and medicinal properties (Chopra et al. 1986 ). Limonia acidissima the elephant apple is widely con- sumed and made into chutneys and pickles. Such multifunc- tional values of natural products of the region demonstrate a rich indigenous knowledge of natural resources. Use of many species is localized and restricted to casual encounters ( Allophylus serratus, Capparis spp., Lepisanthes tetraphylla, Syzigium cerasoides, Ziziphus rugosa, Uvaria hamiltonii ), whereas species such as as Phyllanthus embl- ica, Aegle marmelos, Artocarpus lacucha, Buchanania lan- zan, Diospyros melanoxylon, Limonia acidissima, Phoenix sylvestris and Syzigium cumini are frequently found and consumed all over the region and beyond. A number of species such as Aegle marmelos, Gardenia gummifera, Lit- sea glutinosa, Phyllanthus emblica, Solanum torvum and Semecarpus anacardium are widely used in traditional herb- al medicine in rural areas of the state. Some fruits are eaten raw, either ripe or unripe, while others are cooked and consumed as curries (e.g. tender figs of Ficus hispida, F. racemosa and F. semicordata) or are pickled or made into curry pasteor chutney. Olax psittacorum, Ficus racemosa, Tamilnadia uliginosa, Capparia zeylanica and Ficus hispida are used as vegetables. Seeds of Xylia xylocarpa, and Bauhinia vahlii are roasted and eaten by the Kohla and Juang tribes. Dried seeds of Buchanania lanzan, Semecarpus anacardium and Madhuca indica are eaten directly or in semi- processed form by tribals. Santals and Juangs of the study area consume the tender and immature seeds of Diospyros melanox- ylon and Diospyros malabarica as famine foods. Insipid fruits of Ficus religiosa and F. benghalensis are also considered to be distress foods and are eaten in times of food scarcity. Ripe fruits

of Aegle marmelos, Artocarpus lacucha, Flacourtia indica, Eugenia rothii, Carissa spinarum, Uvaria hamiltonii, Ericybe paniculata, Diospyros melanoxylon, Phoenix acaulis and P. sylvestris are used in most localities as they have a sweet taste and pleasant flavor. Ziziphus mauritiana, Artocarpus lacucha, Antidesma spp. and Phyllanthus emblica, are eaten raw or sun dried and preserved in mustard oil after mixing with salt.

Seasonality of wild fruit collection

Fruits of Aegle marmelos, Buchanania lanzan, Diospyros mel- anoxylon, Madhuca indica, Phoenix acaulis, P. sylvestris, Schleichera oleosa and Semecarpus anacardium ripen be- tween March and June, coinciding with a number of tribal festivals when the ripe fruits are offered to deities before being consumed (Fig. 2). Besides wild mango and jackfruit, which are available in plenty during the summer, ripe fruits of Aegle marmelos (Bael), Buchanania lanzan (Char), D. melanoxylon (Kendu), Flacourtia indica, Manilkara hexandra, wild date palms (Phoenix spp.) and fleshy hypocarps of Semecarpus anacardium are commonly consumed by tribal women, chil- dren, firewood collectors and graziers in the forest to tide them over harsh summers. Tribals of Mayurbhanj, Kandhamal and Sambalpur extract seeds of Madhuca indica and Schleichera oleosa in the summer and during subsequent months for cooking oils. Syzigium cumini, Cordia dichotoma, Eugenia rothii, Gardenia gummifera, Uvaria hamiltonii, Grewia spp., Artocarpus lacucha, Protium serratum and Olax psittacorum produce fruits that are usually consumed by forest dwellers during the rainy season (June to September). From mid Oc- tober, as the winter sets in, several wild fruits with acidic taste are available to local inhabitants of the forests. These are fruits of wild Citrus spp., Antidesma acidum , Limonia acidissima , Phyllanthus emblica , Spondias pinnata , Tam- arindus indica and Ziziphus spp. They are either consumed raw or after being made into chutneys, drinks, pickles or curries (Table 3 ). This is the period when many species of Ziziphus ( Z. mauritiana, Z. funiculosa, Z. nummularia, Z. oenoplia ) and Carissa spinarum bear ripe fruits in village thickets and scrub forests, which are frequented by tribal children and women. More generally, local climatic and edaphic conditions contribute to variation in inter-site fruit- ing season in a number of species. Consequently, there is considerable overlap in ripening among different species, both within and among localities, resulting in year-round availability of wild fruits (Fig. 2 ).

Wild fruit plant diversity in Orissa forests

On average, 48±10 types of edible fruit plants (trees and shrubs) occur per hectare of deciduous forests in Orissa out of a total of 568 trees per hectare (i.e. ~ 8.5 %; Reddy et al. 2007a , b ). Kandhamal, a biodiversity rich locality of the state

of 568 trees per hectare (i.e. ~ 8.5 %; Reddy et al. 2007a , b ).

Author's personal copy

A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda

Ripe fruits are tasty and relished by all tribal communities; seeds of young

Ripe fruits edible; seed kernels used as confectionary and sold in market.

Young figs commonly used as vegetable and ripe fruits as a fruit; tribals

Sweet and tasty ripe fruits are commonly consumed by forest dwellers.

Though mucilagineous, ripe fruits are commonly eaten; mucilage from mature fruits used as a gum.

Ripe fruits are eaten as such and immature fruits are made into pickles

Ripe fruits, though emit a bad smell, are occasionally eaten by tribals

Ripe fruits consumed in a limited scale at the time of adversity; birds

Immature fruits eaten by children, mature fruits as vegetable and ripe fruits taken occasionally by tribals.

Fully ripe fruits are tasty, eaten as such or made into pickles; mature

Immature fruits are commonly cooked as a vegetable and ripe fruits

Ripe and insipid fruits are consumed as a famine food and extreme

Unripe fruits used as a food additive or vegetable; ripe acidic fruits

Mucilaginous pulp eaten as sherbet; dried slices of immature fruits as Ayurvedic medicine

Fully ripe acidic fruits are taken by tribals; also made into pickles.

Fully ripe fruits are taken by tribals; immature fruits are too tarty.

Ripe fruits eaten; used as vegetable, pickles and jams; sun-dried and preserved for rainy season.

fruits used as vegetable; fruits offered in religious ceremonies.

Young figs used as vegetable and ripe fruits occasionally eaten.

Mature fruits made to slices, sun-dried and used in preparation

Unripe fruits used as vegetable and ripe fruits eaten raw.

Ripe fruits edible; used in religious ceremonies.

Roasted seed taken raw or after boiling.

avoid fruits with wasps and maggots.

Ripe fruits are eaten by tribal children

Arils of ripe fruits are eaten by tribals

of curries; ripe fruits are edible.

Completely ripe fruits are edible.

Mode of consumption and use

fruits are with milky latex.

are sometimes eaten raw.

eat the fruits in plenty.

during food shortage.

food shortage.

are edible.

Fruits pulp and unripe fruits

Ripe fruit & seed kernel

Fleshy aril of ripe fruit

Ripe and unripe fruit

Ripe and unripe fruit

Ripe and unripe fruit

Ripe and unripe fruit

Ripe and unripe fruit

Ripe and unripe fruit

Ripe and unripe fruit

Ripe and unripe fruit

Edible part

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruit

Seed

Lifeform

Climber

Climber

Climber

Climber

Shrub

Shrub

Shrub

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Table 2 List of edible wild fruit plants and their uses in Orissa state, India

Convolvulaceae

Caesalpiniaceae

Euphorbiaceae

Euphorbiaceae

Anacardiaceae

Cucurbitaceae

Boraginaceae

Apocynaceae

Capparaceae

Capparaceae

Sapindaceae

Dilleniaceae

Alangiaceae

Ebenaceae

Ebenaceae

Myrtaceae

Moraceae

Moraceae

Moraceae

Moraceae

Moraceae

Moraceae

Rutaceae

Rutaceae

Rutaceae

Family

Vernacular name

Mankada Kendu

Kainchikakudi

Pani Dimbiri

Sagadabatua

Khandakoli

Kantikapali

Dudhakoli

Gual Koli

Aswastha

Asadhua

Naranga

Jambira

Dimbiri

Durkoli

Ankula

Luniari

Kendu

Chara

Podia

Jeuta

Bara

Bael

Kasi

Siali

Rai

Diospyros melanoxylon

Diospyros malabarica

Alangium salvifolium

Artocarpus lacucha

Allophylus serratus

Buchanania lanzan

Capparis zeylanica

Ficus benghalensis

Dillenia pentagyna

Erycibe paniculata

Antidesma acidum

Ficus semicordata

Cordia dichotoma

Capparis sepiaria

Carissa spinarum

Coccinia grandis

Aegle marmelos

Scientific Name

Ficus racemosa

Bauhinia vahlii

Bridelia retusa

Ficus religiosa

Citrus sinensis

Eugenia rothii

Citrus medica

Ficus hispida

Ficus racemosa Bauhinia vahlii Bridelia retusa Ficus religiosa Citrus sinensis Eugenia rothii Citrus medica Ficus hispida

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Significance of wild edible fruits for tribals of Eastern India

Berries are eaten raw or cooked, oil from seeds is used in cooking and as medicine; flowers eaten raw, after frying/ baking, used for preparation

Ripe fruits are widely used by all communities; often after treating in salt

Ripe fruits edible, also pickled; seeds eaten raw or roasted, seed-oil used

Tasty and acidic ripe fruits are favourite for children and adult tribals.

Ripe and mature fruits are edible, very commonly used as a medicine (a constituent of the Ayurvedic drug Triphala ; made into pickles,

Ripe fruits are eaten as such or after being boiled, roasted or made in

Ripe sour fruits are edible and also made into pickles by some tribes.

Mildly acidic ripe fruits with scanty pulp are eaten; also medicinally

White coloured arils of ripe fruits, though emit a disagreeable smell,

Fully ripe fruits contain inadequate pulp but occasionally consumed

Ripe fruits are very tasty and liked by all tribal communities; plants

Hypocarp is eaten when ripe; kernel also edible; tribals use kernel

water; possess medicinal properties especially against diabetes.

Fruit pulp is widely used by tribals as such or as chutney, drink,

Ripe fruit is directly edible; green fruits as vegetable; also made

Ripe acidic fruits are taken as such or as a refreshing drink.

Young fruits fried with ghee or oil is eaten as a vegetable.

oil as wood preservative against white-ant and lubricant for wooden axles of carts.

jam/ jellies, drinks; dried and preserved as masticatory.

Ripe fruits are occasionally eaten by tribal communitis.

Ripe fruits are sometimes taken by tribal communities.

Very common eaten as a summer fruit by all thibes.

Ripe flower heads waten in period of food scarcity.

Pinkish pulp of ripe and mature fruits are edible.

Ripe fruit with scanty flesh is tasty and edible.

Fruits, when fully ripe, are sometimes eaten.

for cooking and other domestic purposes.

Mode of consumption and use

medicine and tribal rituals.

into pickles and chutney.

are often consumed.

Ripe fruits are edible

of a country liquor.

are worshiped.

by children.

to curries.

important

Ripe and immature fruit

Fleshy aril of ripe fruit

Fleshy thalamus, seed

Mature fruit, flower

Inflorescence head

Pulp of ripe fruits

Pulp of ripe fruit

Ripe fruit, seed

Mature fruits

Tender fruits

Mature fruit

Edible part

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruits

Ripe fruit

Ripe fruit

Ripe fruit

Ripe fruit

Ripe fruit

Ripe fruit

Ripe fruit

Ripe fruit

Ripe fruit

Ripe fuit

Fruit

Lifeform

Climber

Shrub

Shrub

Shrub

Shrub

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Tree

Euphorbiaceae

Anacardiaceae

Flacourtiaceae

Sapindaceae

Sapindaceae

Burseraceae

Sapotaceae

Sapotaceae

Solanaceae

Solanaceae

Myrtaceae

Myrtaceae

Rubiaceae

Rubiaceae

Rubiaceae

Arecaceae

Arecaceae

Lauraceae

Olacaceae

Rutaceae

Tiliaceae

Tiliaceae

Tiliaceae

Tiliaceae

Family

Vernacular name

Bhadabhadalia

Bhuin Khajuri

Kathakusuma

Panikusuma

Sunaregoda

Dengabheji

Pharsakoli

Kadamba

Khirakoli

Bhaincha

Panijamu

Baghoari

Ambada

Dhaman

Kusuma

Khajuri

Bhurdu

Phulari

Mahua

Tolaka

Kaitha

Jamun

Bhalia

Amla

Semecarpus anacardium

Lepisanthes tetraphylla

Neonauclea cadamba

Tamilnadia uliginosa

Gardenia gummifera

Table 2 (continued)

Syzygium cerasoides

Manilkara hexandra

Phylanthus emblica

Limonia acidissima

Schleichera oleosa

Phoenix sylvestris

Protium serratum

Flacourtia indica

Spondias pinnata

Olax psittacorum

Syzygium cumini

Solanum torvum

Madhuca indica

Scientific Name

Phoenix acaulis

Litsea glutinosa

Grewia tiliifolia

Grewia asiatica

Grewia hirsuta

Grewia rothii

indica Scientific Name Phoenix acaulis Litsea glutinosa Grewia tiliifolia Grewia asiatica Grewia hirsuta Grewia rothii

Author's personal copy

A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda

Very common fruit collected and consumed by children; fruit

Fully ripe fruits are quite tasty and eaten by tribal people.

Seeds are removed by breaking the fruit cover and eaten after roasting.

Ripe fruits, being sweet in taste, are eaten.

used by Munda tribe for stomach pain.

Ripe fruits are eaten largely by children

Mode of consumption and use

Fruits after maturity are eaten.

Ripe and mature fruit

Ripe and mature fruit

Mature fruit

Edible part

Ripe fruit

Ripe fruit

Seed

Lifeform

Climber

Climber

Climber

Shrub

Shrub

Tree

Rhamnaceae

Rhamnaceae

Rhamnaceae

Rhamnaceae

Mimosaceae

Annonaceae

Family

Vernacular name

Tangan/Kongra

Jangli Barakoli

Lakhankoli

Chun Koli

Kanteikoli

Tinkoli

Ziziphus nummularia

Table 2 (continued)

Ziziphus funiculosa

Uvaria hamiltonii

Ziziphus oenoplia

Scientific Name

Ziziphus rugosa

Xylia xylocarpa

oenoplia Scientific Name Ziziphus rugosa Xylia xylocarpa Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Aegle marmelos Artocarpus
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Aegle marmelos
Artocarpus lacucha
Bauhinia purpurea
Buchanania lanzan
Dillennia pentagyna
Diospyros malabarica
Diospyros melanoxylon
Ficus hispida
Flacourtia indica
Gardenia gummifera
Limonia acidissima
Mangifera indica
Phoenix acaulis
Phyllanthus emblica
Schleichera oleosa
Semecarpus anacardium
Spondias pinnata
Syzigium cumini
Xylia xylocarpa
Ziziphus oenoplia

Fig. 2 Fruiting calendar of 20 common wild fruit species (Shaded segments show period of fruiting)

in the Central Uplands shows the highest density of fruit plants (57 plants ±14/ ha) and Gajapati District, the lowest (38 plants±11/ha) (Table 4 ). Koraput has moist mixed de- ciduous vegetation and the incidence of edible fruit trees was not significantly different from Kandhamal. There was no distinct difference in wild fruit density between the deciduous non-Sal mixed forest zone (Mayurbhanj) and the deciduous Sal dominated zone (Sambalpur). The tree diameter of the 20 most prevalent species indicated good health and maturity and there was no discernible difference between sampled districts in the percentage of mature fruit trees (>60 cm GBH class) in forests. Five species, Diospyros melanoxylon, Buchanania lan- zan, Madhuca indica, Schleichera oleosa and Phyllanthus emblica had the highest combined density with 2.22 trees ha 1 in a range of 1.98 2.71. Both in terms of frequency and

Table 3 Use pattern of wild fruits in Orissa state, India

Mode/ category of use

Number of genera

Number of species

1. Raw ripe fruits

38

53

2. Vegetable

13

18

3. Processed pickles

13

14

4. Chutney (grind pulp)

4

4

5. Jam, Jelly

10

13

6. Dry preserve

12

12

7. Drinks

8

10

8. Medicine

30

41

9. Seed Oil

6

6

10. Spice, condiment

2

2

11. Religious ritual

10

12

Other use

6

7

Author's personal copy

Significance of wild edible fruits for tribals of Eastern India

Table 4 Distribution and abun- dance of the 20 most prevalent wild species in forests bearing wild edible fruit

Relative Abundance 0 Abun- dance of a species/ Sum of abun- dance values of all species *100

Relative Density 0 Density of the individual species/ Sum of densi- ty values of all species *100

Relative Frequency 0 Frequency of individual species/ Sum of fre- quency values of all species *100

IVI 0 Relative Abundance + Relative Density + Relative Frequency

Sl. No.

Species

Relative

Relative

Relative

IVI

 

Abundance

Density

Frequency

1

Aegle marmelos

2.20

4.88

5.11

12.19

2

Alangium salvifolium

1.38

1.11

1.86

4.35

3

Bauhinia vahlii

1.76

2.49

3.25

7.49

4

Bridelia retusa

2.15

1.89

2.01

6.05

5

Buchanania lanzan

3.69

9.68

6.04

19.41

6

Dillenia pentagyna

2.15

1.89

2.01

6.05

7

Diospyros melanoxylon

3.45

11.40

7.59

22.43

8

Ficus hispida

1.48

3.08

4.80

9.36

9

Flacourtia indica

1.38

1.11

1.86

4.35

10

Gardenia gummifera

1.65

2.23

3.10

6.98

11

Madhuca indica

2.85

8.65

6.97

18.48

12

Phoenix acaulis

2.08

3.08

3.41

8.57

13

Phyllanthus emblica

2.68

8.31

7.12

18.11

14

Protium serratum

2.08

1.54

1.70

5.33

15

Schleichera oleosa

2.77

8.57

7.12

18.45

16

Semecarpus anacardium

3.01

8.31

6.35

17.67

17

Spondias pinnata

1.65

1.11

1.55

4.32

18

Syzigium cumini

2.07

5.57

6.19

13.83

19

Xylia xylocarpa

3.31

2.23

1.55

7.08

20

Ziziphus oenoplia

1.49

2.31

3.56

7.37

21

Other 36 species

54.72

10.54

16.87

82.13

abundance, the above 5 species topped the list, as may be seen from the IVI values (Importance Value Index) (Table 4 ). In quantitative ecological terms, the IVI of Diospyros mel- anoxylon (22.43 %) is the highest followed by Buchnania lanzan (19.41 %) and Madhuca indica (18.48 %) which demonstrates their wide distribution and abundance in de- ciduous forests in Orissa. They are closely followed by two other multipurpose fruit species, Schleichera oleosa (18.45 %) and Semecarpus anacardium (17.67 %). The study revealed that both frequency and density of useful species, such as Alangium salvifolium , Flacourtia indica and Spondias pinnata are quite low. The regeneration study (data not shown) indicated that out of 56 species studied, the recruitment status of Uvaria hamiltonii, Euge- nia rothii, Capparis sepiaria , Litsea glutinosa, Limonia acidissima, Syzigium cerasoides and Tamilnadia uliginosa is very low, making the population unviable as the new recruit to adult ratio is below the threshold level for survival (author s survey data).

Regional and gender differences in wild fruit collection and use

Thirteen species (viz. Aegle marmelos, Buchanania lanzan, Diospyros melanoxylon, Ficus hispida, Flacourtia indica, Gardenia gummifera, Madhuca indica, Phoenix acaulis, Phyl- lanthus emblica, Semecarpus anacardium, Syzigium cumini

and Ziziphus oenoplia are used by a wide section of rural ethnic communities to varying extents according to their abun- dance in nearby forests. The maximum number of species (41) was collected in the Kondhmal district by the local Kondh tribe. In contrast only 23 species were collected and used in the drier western plateau of Sambalpur. About 68 % of the total geographical area of Kandhmal district is under hilly mixed forests, so it is to be expected that a greater number of varieties of fruit would be collected. There were no distinct differences among tribal communities in the use of any particular species, but there were marked differences in the total number of species used by communities living in Kandhamal and Koraput com- pared with those living in Sambalpur and Gajapati. Consumption of wild fruit among different communities depends on their availability and knowledge of their edibil- ity. There were no distinct difference in diversity of fruit species among the forest plots studied but there were differ- ences in type and number of species used by households among the localities. The homogeneity of species use was further probed by drawing a dendrogram of the use of fruit plants, based on the frequency of use reported by different tribal communities across the five districts (Fig. 3 ). This reflected the domain knowledge of the dominant tribes of the area. Coefficient of similarity indicated 74 % similarity between Kandhamal and Koraput forests. Mayurbhanj and Gajapati have 62 % similarity with strong affinity to Sambalpur. This could be due to sharing of similar

Mayurbhanj and Gajapati have 62 % similarity with strong affinity to Sambalpur. This could be due

Author's personal copy

A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda

Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,
Author's personal copy A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati fruit plants on small holdings,

Sambalpur

Mayurbhanj

Gajapati

fruit plants on small holdings, citing shortage of farm land and unprofitability as the primary reasons.

Wild fruit and tribal livelihood

On average, tribal households gather 242 kg of wild fruits per annum from different sources, i.e. forests, fallow land,as the primary reasons. Wild fruit and tribal livelihood Koraput farm bunds and village commons. Variation

Koraput

farm bunds and village commons. Variation in amounts

depended on socio-economic parameters, such as food in- security, family income, sources of income and the amount of family labour that could be spared for foraging in the forest. A. marmelos, M. indica, D. melanoxylon, S. oleosa, and P. emblica were the principal species gathered, the harvest including mature flowers and fruits. These were used both for consumption and local sale. The bulk of household collection (63 % by volume) consisted of fruits of Mahua ( M. indica ) followed by those of Kusuma ( S. oleosa ) and Tendu ( D. melanoxylon ) which have multiple utilities. Greater collections of Mahua fruit were recorded for Gajapati and Sambalpur districts where the plant is a major constituent of dry, deciduous Sal ( S. robusta ) forests. Bael (A. marmelos), comprising 5 % of fruit gathered by tribal households, is much sought after as its leaves, fruits, gum and wood are used for a host of purposes. Low quan- tities of figs ( Ficus hispida; 1 2 Kg) were harvested as they are considered to be famine food and are therefore con- sumed only occasionally. On the other hand, the small harvests of tasty fruits, such as those of Flacourtia india, could be due to low fruit-setting of the species in the wild. Only 21 % of households collected F. indica and the mean household collection was 2.3 kg. Berries of species such as P. emblica and S. cumini are collected in the wild in the tribal hinterlands although they are domesticated to a limited extent in semi-urban areas. Average household collection varied from 9.8 kg±6.6 for S. cumini (Jamu) to 18.1 kg± 14.5 for P.emblica (Amla; Table 6 ). Although diversity and density of wild fruits is higher in Kandhamal district, tribals of Mayurbhanj collected more fruit to meet their household needs (compare Tables 5 and 6 ).

Kandhamalto meet their household needs (compare Tables 5 and 6 ). 0.42 0.50 0.58 0.66 0.74

0.42 0.50 0.58 0.66 0.74
0.42
0.50
0.58
0.66
0.74

Coefficient

Fig. 3 Fruit use Similarity index

ecological niches; dominance of moist mixed deciduous vegetation in the former and Sal dominated dry deciduous vegetation in the latter. Further, similarity of knowledge in Koraput and Kandhmal could be on account of common kinship, culture and ancestry of two groups of Kondhs (Desia kondh, Kutia kondh) living in these districts. Along with the regional differences in use, gender prefer- ence in collection and consumption was investigated. This revealed that, in general, women and children consume more fruit than men but this could be due to their more frequent visits to the forest. Women are firewood gatherers and chil- dren frequent forests to gather fungi, fruits and seeds. In consequence a higher proportion of female (46 %) and chil- dren (33 %) than males (21 %) collect fruit. While 42 % of households stated that female members consumed more fruit than males, in 36 % of households children consumed the bulk of collected fruits. Only about a quarter of households collect regularly, while for a large majority, fruit gathering is occa- sional and mostly for food supplements or medicinal purpo- ses. Healing attributes of indigenous fruits was the reason for their use by 22 % of respondents. The incidence of fruit use was also related to adversity. Forty-nine percent believed fruit helped them survive until government aid reached them but fruit could not replace staple foods. Nevertheless, 45 % of tribal households did not consider it imperative to domesticate

Table 5 Difference in distribution in forests and uses of wild fruit plants across districts

Wild fruit species (mean value)

Kandhamal (n 0 10)

Sambalpur (n 0 9)

Koraput ( n 0 10)

Mayurbhanj ( n 0 11)

Gajapati ( n 0 9)

Stems/hectare

57 a (± 14.48)

48.6 abc (± 9.89)

53.7 a (±10.97)

45.3 abc (±9.97)

38.2 c (±11.89)

Species/hectare

15.5 a (± 1.77)

12.8 b (± 0.92)

15 a (± 2.1)

10.1 b (± 1.7)

12.6 b (± 1.9)

Number of species collected per village

17 a (± 1.73)

15 ab (± 1.74)

15.5 a (± 1.90)

13.5 b (± 2.42)

16 a (± 1.87)

Total number of wild fruits used by villagers

41 a

23 b

37 a

34 ac

29 bc

% of mature fruit bearing plants

64

78

73

86

76

Author's personal copy

Significance of wild edible fruits for tribals of Eastern India

Table 6 Average household collection, consumption and sale of wild fruits (1USD 0 45 Rs.)

 

Botanical

% Household

Annual

Annual

Annual sale

Sale price

Total

Annual

Name/ District

collecting

collection

Consumption

(kgn)

(Rs./kg)

Value of

Fruit

Name

(kg/Yr)

(kg/Yr)

fruits (Rs.)

Income

 

(Rs.)

Collection and use (Top 10 species)

M.

indica

95

90.2 (±69.7)

8.7 (±8.4)

81.5 (±66.1)

8

721.6

652

S. oleosa

95

34.6 (±27.6)

25.2 (±21.5)

9.4 (±14.4)

4

138.4

37.6

 

D.

melanoxylon

100

28.0 (±18.9)

15.3 (±9.9)

12.7 (±12.4)

10

280.0

127

S. pinnata

59

19.3 (±16.0)

2.3 (±2.6)

17.0 (±14.6)

4

77.2

68

P

.emblica

95

18.1 (±14.5)

1.5 (±1.9)

16.6 (±13.5)

3

54.3

49.8

A

. marmelos(nos)

18.0 (±16.2)

5.0 (±4.6)

13.0 (±13.5)

2

36.0

26

B.

lanzan

86

16.0 (±12.0)

2.5 (±2.1)

13.5 (±10.9)

21

336.0

283.5

S. cumini

91

9.8 (±6.6)

4.0 (±2.3)

5.8 (±5.3)

7

68.6

40.6

L. acidissima

9.0 (±5.3)

1.7 (±1.2)

7.3 (±4.7)

7

63.0

51.1

B. vahlii

70

8.1 (±6.1)

4.3 (±3.5)

3.8 (±3.6)

19

153.9

72.2

Average household collection and use by district

Mayurbhanj

378 a (±145.2) 112 b (±40.8)

265 b (±18.7)

Sambalpur

209 b (±56.9)

62 a (±17.4)

147 a (±49.4)

Gajapati

182 b (±35.4)

62 a (±13.7)

120 a (±28.2)

 

Koraput

141 c (±51.9)

48 a (±14.2)

93 c (±42.1)

Kandhamal

298 a (±31.4)

130 b (±17.2) 158 a (±38.2)

 

SD in parenthesis

Dissimilar superscript indicate significance p <0.5 (Mann Whitney U Test)

Indigenous tribal families living within 5 7 km radius of forests consume on average 82 kg yr 1 household 1 of wild fruits (Table 6 ). Diospyros melanoxylon (tendu) fruit is consumed by 53 %, Schleichera oleosa (73 %), Semecarpus anacardium (52 %), Syzigium cumini by 41 % and M. indica by 63 % of households. The mean amounts of the top 10 species consumed by locals is shown in Table 6 . Although collection of fruits of M. indica (Mahua) scores higher, maximum consumption is for S. oleosa (Kusum) fruit and seed. Of particular interests are fruits of Ga rdenia gummi- fera (Bhurudu), Phoenix acaulis (Bhuin Khajuri) which are mainly collected as livestock feed but are also consumed by tribal as hunger food. In contrast, berries of Capparis

sepiaria (Kantikapali), or Flacourtia indica (Bhaincha) al- though tasty and palatable are consumed in less quantity, (1.1 kg yr 1 household 1 ) because of their scarcity. The stand density of C. sepiaria for instance is a meager 2 per ha in forests. Significant differences (p <0.05) in quantity collected and sold were noticed among districts (Table 6 ). Maximum quantities were gathered and sold in Mayurbhanj, followed by Kandhamal. Lesser but similar amounts were recorded for Sampbalpur and Gajapti and least for Koraput, districts which have less forest cover. Although need for consumption is the primary reason for wild fruit collection, a large majority of tribals gather fruits of Buchanania lanzan (96 %), Madhuca indica (96 %), and

Table 7 Household Income sources (annual) in Rupees

Household income in Rupees (value of total production and cash income)

Sources of income Kandhamal Koraput Sambalpur Mayurbhanj Gajapati Average %Total income

Agriculture income

3645

5358

5913

3497

4535

4590

42.6

Horticulture income

0

69

998

265

240

314

2.9

Livestock income

1745

57

650

680

220

670

6.2

Wage income

2950

375

2674

1335

1050

1677

15.6

Trade income

0

0

558

630

25

243

2.3

Service income

0

98

332

1739

102

454

4.2

Other NTFP income

2200

1256

1250

287

820

1163

10.8

Wild fruit income

2540

1058

1230

2322

1133

1657

15.4

Total income

13080

8271

13605

10755

8125

10767

1USD 0 45 Indian Rupees

1133 1657 15.4 Total income 13080 8271 13605 10755 8125 10767 1USD 0 45 Indian Rupees

Author's personal copy

A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda

Spondias pinnata (89 %) and a few others for sale in the local hat (village market) to earn income. Tribals housholds in the study areas, which are forest dependent, have a mean annual income of Rs.10,767 (Table 7 ). Sale of wild edible fruit and flowers contributes 15 % to this,, agriculture 42 % and waged work 15 %. A number of non timber forest products (NTFP) are also harvested by tribals. These pro- vide 10 % of household income, the dominant species being M. indica, B. lanzan, D. melanoxylon and S.oleosa which contribute 39 %, 17 %, 12 %, and 7 % of this sector of income, respectively. Income received from a particular fruit related more to the local sale price than to the amount collected or sold. Tribals of Mayurbhanj (Santal, Kolha) earned significantly higher income from fruit than the other indigenous communities studied.

Discussion

Orissa state, although located in the drier north eastern Ghat region of India, boasts around 2,800 species of trees, shrubs, climbers and herbs (Saxena and Brahmam 1994 96). No wonder therefore that an array of fruit plants is available from forests in the districts surveyed. In fact, the authors have recorded ethno-botanical information relating to wild fruit edibility in respect of 150 plants (mainly trees and shrubs) from Orissa and adjoining states (Mahapatra and Panda 2009 ). This brings to the fore the wealth of bio- resources in the dry-deciduous vegetation of eastern India, which is comparable to the evergreen and moist deciduous zone of the Himalayan and Western Ghat region, areas considered rich in indige nous fruits (Sundriyal and Sundriyal 2001 ; Rashid et al. 2008 ; Rawat et al. 1994 ). Evidence has mounted as to the diversity of wild foods and varieties of uses of vegetation by indigenous communi- ties worldwide (Kuhnlein et al. 2009 ; Rathore 2009 ). This investigation has proved to be no exception in which forest fruits of 56 species belonging to 40 genera and 26 families were found to be consumed by local tribals. This is a substantial number and comparable to those documented from other Indian states, e.g. Tripura (Sankaran et al. 2006 ), Maharashtra (Deshmukh and Shinde 2010 ), Western Himalayas (Parmar and Kaushal 1982 ), Western Ghat of Tamil Nadu (Arinathan et al. 2007 ), Andhra Pradesh (Reddy et al. 2007a , b ) and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Singh et al. 2001 ). The fact that such varieties of woodland fruits are used for consumption and sale indicates the extent of traditional ecological knowledge of the tribal communities living in the region. Further, a number of fruit plants in Orissa have many uses as is the case with many wild edible plants (Shrestha and Dhillon 2006 ; Pastor and Gustavo 2007 ). Surprisingly, there is no evidence that many of the wild fruits considered edible in the study area are consumed

wild fruits considered edible in the study area are consumed by inhabitants of other deciduous forest

by inhabitants of other deciduous forest regions in India. Thus this knowledge could be exclusive to Orissa tribals who are ethnically different from communities inhabiting other parts of India. Forest fringe dwellers, in particular, possess good knowledge of wild fruit species, including their time of fruiting and ripening, which varies across localities and species. Moreover, the spread of indigenous knowledge is influenced by gender, social role and age (Bharucha and Pretty 2010 ). In conformity with results of other studies (Shrestha and Dhillon 2006 ) women in Orissa have a stronger association with the use wild fruit than men. A number of fruits have similar uses across communities in Orissa, probably as the result of knowledge transfer between communities through trade and increased mobility. However, 16 species were identified as being district spe- cific as far as household uses are concerned. For instance, mature inflorescence of Neonauclea cadamba and figs of Ficus benghalensis are eaten only by people of Sambalpur district, whereas gathering of seed of Xylia xylocarpa is restrict ed to tribals of Koraput District. Uses of wild plants significantly contribute to the food and nutritional security of the poor whether it is in India (Singh and Arora 1978), the Bolivian Amazon (Victoria et al. 2006) or Africa (Lockett et al. 2000). The importance of understand- ing current trends for wild foods is underscored by the recog- nition that food insecurity is a problem among indigenous populations of some areas (Ford and Berrang-Ford 2009). Tribals of Orissa are either landless or own rain-fed marginal land, which is unproductive and produces insufficient grain for family needs. As a result, indigenous communities and rural poor depend on wild plants to supplement their diet (Sundriyal and Sundriyal 2001). Poor tribal households in Orissa consume several wild tubers e.g. those of Dioscorea spp., Amorphophalus spp., Arisaema tortuosum, Costus specious, Pueraria tuberosa, Alocasia spp., Asparagus race- mosus and other species (Mishra et al. 2009; Sinha and Lakra 2005) and leafy vegetables such as Bauhinia spp., Tamarindus indica, Commelina spp., Ipomoea spp., Amaranthus spp., Eclipta prostrata, Antidesma acidum, Polygonum spp., Leu- cas spp., Celosia argentea, Mollugo spp., Diplazium esculen- tum, Marsilea quadrifida and Alternanthera spp. (Pal and Banerjee 1971; Sinha and Lakra 2005). These are gathered from fallows and forest fringe wastelands in order to tide them over lean periods. The results of this study support the significance of wild edibles in the food security of poor rural communities by listing the gathering, processing and uses of 56 wild edible fruits in different parts of Orissa state. While a range of species are palatable and liked by all, several others are acidic (Antidesma acidum, Grewia asiatica, Limonia acidissima, Protium serra- tum) or mucilaginous or gummy (Cordia dichotoma, Dillenia pentagyna) or have a bitter taste (Bridelia retusa, Syzigium cerasoides). They are, nevertheless, consumed in times of

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Significance of wild edible fruits for tribals of Eastern India

distress. Dried mango kernel has become a staple famine food in many tribal households, although it is devoid of dietary value, highlighting the significance of wild edibles for tribal households. Contrary to the findings of Harris and Mohammed ( 2003 ) there is a clear distinction between fruits that are common and popular e.g. those of Aegle marmelos, Diospyros mela- noxylon, Buchanania lanzan, Syzigium cumini ) and those regarded as distress or famine fruits e.g. those of Ficus spp., Neonauclea cadamba and Xylia xylocarpa . M. indica is the most widely and frequently collected species and has many uses. While the flowers are used for making cake and liquor (Mahuli), oil is extracted from ripe fruits and ground seed. A. marmelos and P. emblica are important natural resources for forest dependent tribals as their fruits are both nutrition- ally rich and have medicinal properties. Several wild fruits, such as those from Diospyros melanoxylon (Tendu), Arto- carpus lacucha (Jeuta), Manilkara hexandra , Flacourtia indica, Ericybe paniculata, and Eugenia rothii are very nutritious but the amount collected from forests is small and villagers make no effort to domesticate them. Respond- ents cited the small size of farm holdings, the unprofitability of perennials and lack of their silvicultural knowledge as the main impediments. One measure of the affinity of tribals with fruit trees is that some, such as Mangifera indica (wild mango), M. indica (mahua) and S. oleosa (kusum) are spared the axe when woodlands are converted to farms or slash and burn cropping is practised. The majority of households stated that fruit consumption was sporadic, and except for the four or five most prized fruits or seed, most are collected as a result of chance encounter by people in the forests for other purposes such as graziers and collectors of firewood and NTFP. Despite their diversity, the proportion of wild fruits in the family diet is low and mostly used to tide people over crises. Annual household consumption of Orissan tribals is estimated to be 73 kg per households (14 kg per capita per year) com- pared with 37.4 kg per capita per year for sub-Saharan Africa (Ruel et al. 2005) and 104 kg per household in South Africa (Shackleton and Shackleton 2004). Although wild fruits and berries are by no means alternatives to domesticated food crops, they are often the only source of fruits for the tribals as they have neither the tradition nor the financial ability to buy cultivated fruits such as apples, oranges or grapes. On account of low returns from agriculture and lack of other economic opportunities, households engage idle fam- ily members, mostly women, in the extraction of natural products from wild fruits for sustenance. Sale of wild fruits in tribal eastern India takes place on a small scale and supports livelihoods by way of income diversification. In the study region, non timber products, including fruits from forests and village commons realizes a quarter of family income. Trading of wild fruits is mainly to meet the local

requirements, but some such as Annacardium occidentale (cashew), Buchanania lanzan (char), M. indica (mahua) and S. oleosa (kusum) have extended marketing chains and are exported out of the district to other markets in India. On average, tribal households of Orissa who trade in indigenous fruits receive 15 % of gross family income by selling fruits. Similar findings were reported from a South African village by Dovie et al. ( 2002 ). Collection and diversity of uses are higher in Koraput and Kondhamal than the other three districts, but the tribals of Mayurbhanj and Sambalpur sell more fruit. This is because better road accessibility allows development of markets where forest products in these districts can be sold. As expected, variation in household income is apparent be- tween villages and districts. The contribution of natural products to household income varies across landscapes and localities ranging from as low as 12 % (Kamnga et al. 2009) to as high as 50 % (Narendran et al. 2001). On the basis of household information, we made a conservative estimate on production of 20 common forest fruits and calculated its gross value to be INR 98 million (USD 1.9 m) annually for Orissa state alone. This could be lower than the actual value as the total volume of trade could be more correctly assessed through state wide market surveys for supplementing the farm gate information obtained by the authorssurvey. Substantial income coming from sale of nat- ural products including wild fruits demonstrate the importance of biodiversity to livelihoods of tribals in the study area. As indigenous fruit species are components of the mixed deciduous ecosystem, their distribution is scattered and their density is low, varying from 10 to 15 species ha 1 . The per capita fruit consumption in absolute term may be low, but it makes the tribal food basket diverse and nutritious. Limited spread of indigenous knowledge, high dependence on cere- als, modern agriculture and low incidence of palatable spe- cies contribute to low consumption of wild food plants by rural communities (Asfaw and Tadesse 2001 ; Pauline and Linus 2004 ). Short storage life and pest infestation are the common impediments to more intense use cited by respond- ents. Although there are no taboos for gathering wild fruits in the study area, apart from spurning some as famine foods, it is the upper caste and better-off farmers who gather firewood and NTFPs, and usually the poorer sections of the communities and tribals who consume wild fruits. Improving farm productivity on marginal land by using high-yielding hybrid seeds, farm machinery or other inputs, obtained through massive subsidies, has achieved limited success in tribal dominated districts of India. In subsistence farming regions, wild fruit cultivation in farm-forestry or agro-forestry systems could be a cheaper option for dry lands. However, limited production from natural sources does not make forest fruits a suitable agricultural commod- ity for commercialization. Moreover, the mere knowledge of

does not make forest fruits a suitable agricultural commod- ity for commercialization. Moreover, the mere knowledge

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A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda

fruit uses would not necessarily lead to domestication. The economic viability of planting fruit species would need to be demonstrated and sources of planting material ensured by agriculture and forestry extension activities. Domestication has the attractive possibility of integrating both resource conservation and development. For example, domesticated wild fruit species could be grown on village wasteland and degraded forest areas, or community land promoted under the community forestry program in India. With increased areas under indigenous fruit plantations, collection in a given locality could attain the commercially tradable vol- umes essential for marketing the products A strategy to promote commercial production in order to boost the local economy would depend not only on increasing the volume of production, but with initiating processing and value ad- dition for raw fruitsimperative for creating market niches for selected species. A database on availability of different species of wild fruiting species and their uses should be compiled to aid such developments of poor tribal areas. Wild food sources have significant potential for supporting livelihood and sur- vival strategies for millions of tribals and forest dwellers inhabiting the central, eastern forested regions of India.

Acknowledgement We are grateful to the respondents for sharing their wisdom to enrich our understanding of nature. Our thanks to Sri P. K. Acharya, Research Associate, Regional Plant Resource Centre for assistance in data analysis and Sri S. P. Panda and Sri P. K. Nayak, Research Fellows for data collection.

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A.K. Mahapatra, P.C. Panda

Ajay Kumar Mahapatra re- ceived his M.Sc from Utkal Uni- versity and AIFC Diploma in Forestry from the Indian Forest College, Dehradun and his PhD in natural resources economics from the University of Aber- deen, UK in 1997 as a Common- wealth Scholar. He has taught forestry and environmental sci- ence in the UK and at Universi- ties in Orissa as a guest member of faculty. His research interests include biodiversity conserva- tion, ecological analysis and pro- specting. He has authored 23 research papers and 2 books and was the recipient of the ICFRE research excellence award in 1999 for outstand- ing research in forest extension. In 2007, he received India Endeavour Executive Award from the Department of Science and Education of the Australian Government. Currently, he works as Director of the Re- gional Plant Resource Center at Bhubaneswar, India.

the Re- gional Plant Resource Center at Bhubaneswar, India. ViewView publicationpublication statsstats Pratap Chandra
the Re- gional Plant Resource Center at Bhubaneswar, India. ViewView publicationpublication statsstats Pratap Chandra

Pratap Chandra Panda obtained his M. Sc. and Ph. D. degrees in Botany from Utkal University, with speciali- sation in plant taxonomy. He is working on flora and quantita- tive assessment of plant resour- ces of Eastern Ghats, conservation biology, ex situ conservation of rare and endan- gered plants, molecular taxono- my, systematics of legumes and cacti, ethnobotany, medicinal plants of Orissa and under- utilised wild plant species. He has described 72 new cultivars of cacti, made many new combina- tions and reported occurrences of several species as new distribu- tional records for India, Eastern India and Orissa. To his credit, he has over 75 research publications in scientific journals of repute. At present, he is working as a Senior Scientist in the Regional Plant Resource Centre, Bhubaneswar.

journals of repute. At present, he is working as a Senior Scientist in the Regional Plant