The Role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the Governance of the Commons: A Study of Gandhamardhan Hills of Odisha, India

The belief system of the tribes regarding Traditional Ecological Knowledge enables the community to come up with better solutions for various situations, as it provides not only information about the environment but also an understanding of cultural dimensions such as responsibilities toward others, reciprocity, and sustainability. Using TEK, this paper investigates forest management dynamics among three tribal groups in the Gandhamardhan hill range of western Odisha. The data collected for the study is based on fieldwork conducted in three villages that topographically share the Gandhamardhan forest as their commons. Consequently, TEK can be used as an educative tool to teach effective strategies for conserving biodiversity. Hence, this study attempts to demonstrate the significance of TEK as a means to enhance the governance of the commons.