Oran is a traditional biodiversity management system unique to Rajasthan, locally known as Devbani. Orans are common preserved sections of forest protected by villages in the name of gods/goddesses, Bhomiyas, Junjhars etc. Common pool resources such as Orans are usually managed under a mixture of open access (i.e. no effective owners or secured rights) and loosely defined common property regimes. The desert ecosystem, particularly in western Rajasthan, is very rich in livestock; hence, Orans are very important in the economy and the livelihood security of rural people and play an important role in promoting a flourishing livestock-based economy. Ancient laws utilized for the management for the Orans are based on a common belief in a divinity, and the entire community has an equal stake in the exploitation of the available resources. The conservation of resources and enforcement of the rules in managing Orans hardly exist. There is no structure management system that oversees the management of the forest as well as issues such as framing rules, resolving conflicts, taking action against offenders and distributing benefits. Utility maximizing behaviour, social pressure and cultural norms form a complex equation in Oran management. However, a comprehensive and well-tested approach to Oran management and conservation has not been developed or widely applied, and the rehabilitation of Orans needs proper planning and execution of a technically feasible package, tailored to suit their unique edaphic, climatic, vegetation, social and legal status.
A substantial investment is being made by the government to increase forest areas. Trees were planted in village common land, government/panchayat land, through social forestry scheme which was initiated in nineteen seventies to increase fuel availability in rural areas and to prevent soil erosion. While so much is invested in the name of development and conservation of social forestry, the existing orans have been left to degenerate by government organs as well as by the society at large.
Former Director General of Meteorology
PR of India with World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
Vice Chair, Inter-Governmental Board for Climate Service, United Nations
Member Executive Council, WMO, United nations
Advisor, National Disaster Management Authority (GOI)