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Displaced and marginalised: protecting the traditional knowledge, customary laws and forest rights of the Yanadi Tribals of Andhra Pradesh

S Vedavathy


The national forest and wildlife conservation laws made intermittently over the last 2 decades in Chittoor and Nellore districts in India have made the people move away from their resource base and live as aliens outside their usual abode.

Policies such as cordoning off rich biodiversity areas as protected /reserve forests, have made the people lose the right to live in the forest. Illegal smugglers of plants and terrorist activities of the Maoist insurgency have entered into the forest areas of many states, further depriving the tribes that are mainly depending on non-timber forest products for their sustenance, of their rights. This has made the younger generation lose their interest in preserving their knowledge and customary laws and practices. Modern ways of life have also taken them away from their traditions.

Most of the Yanadi community are now seeking their livelihoods by getting jobs in other places and are living their life forgetting much about their age old rich traditions and customs. The net result is that traditional knowledge and customary practices that were in practice since times immemorial are dying out day by day. Once the knowledge and related customs disappear, many problems could be caused for the whole of mankind. It is time to protect community rights over traditional knowledge and related customary
laws and practices and give back their rights to live in harmony with the forest.

This study sought to protect community rights over TK and customary practices related to it. It was undertaken with the Yanadi community of Chittoor and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh , and entailed an extensive survey and research to find ways to protect their rich TK, bio-resources and customary laws and practices that are intricately woven together.

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Publication information

  • IIED code: G02788
  • Published: Sep 2010 - IIED
  • Area: India
  • Theme: Biodiversity
  • Language: English

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The current system of intellectual property rights is designed to promote commercial and scientific innovation. It offers little scope for protecting the knowledge rights of indigenous peoples, traditional farmers and healers, whose survival requires collective – not exclusive – access to new knowledge and innovations.

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Protecting community rights over traditional knowledge

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