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January 01, 2010

A key proposal in the effort to protect Tigers in the Seima Protection Forest is the creation of 'strict protection zones'. These are areas where resource gathering will be prohibited and access strictly controlled.

At present residents of local villages have traditional rights to harvest non-timber forest products, principally tree resin, bamboo, rattan and fish, from all parts of the SPF. This is allowed under the Forestry Law, and is part of overall goal of the project to secure livelihoods for local people. In addition to this some villagers graze domestic buffalo and cattle in parts of the SPF core zone. This is a potential source of disturbance to some critical areas of Tiger and large ungulate habitat. Small levels of hunting and trapping persist, and the areas can be relatively hard to patrol. There is also potential for increased human–carnivore conflict in these areas.

The single most important forest resource is the resin collected from several species of Dipterocarpus trees. This is vital source of cash income for many families, and most 'own' several trees in the forest which they tap for resin. Central to the strategy of creating strict protection zones will the negotiated 'buy out' of these trees from the families and communities that tap them.

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