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Community-Initiated Forest Management Without Land Tenure: How Feeble, How Strong? A Study of Three Villages from Central India

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Talwar, Deepshikha Mehra; Ghate, Rucha
Conference: Politics of the Commons: Articulating Development and Strengthening Local Practices
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Conf. Date: July 11-14, 2003
Date: 2003
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/243
Sector: Forestry
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
forest management--case studies
land tenure and use
participatory management
joint management
collective action
Abstract: "In situations where human being and forest co-exist, sustainability of the resource largely depends upon the suitability of the Institution governing the common pool resource, but choice regarding the form of Institution for these commons depends on ideological, political and social background of a given country state. In India forests have been under state control for the past 150 years, but due of several reasons, one being its policy of exclusive management, it has proved to be inefficient. As a result, it has neither been able to maintain the existing forest cover nor increase the total area under forest. On the other hand, there are communities that have made self-initiated attempts to manage the resource. Some NGOs too have attempted to promote resource management among these communities. These successful independent attempts have lead to the acceptance by the State of community participation in forest management, which is reflected in programs like Joint Forest Management (JFM). Thus, collective action has become the main ingredient of any institution managing natural resources either promoted by an NGO, or a State Program or by a Self organized group. But none of these three collective action based regimes have any clear-cut land tenure rights transferred to communities. While JFM has arrangements for sharing profits in distant future, in the case of other two institutions the communities are investing in the form of labor and time in exchange of de facto usufructs only. This is so because all the forestland in Central India belongs to the Government. Present paper brings out the fact that despite the absence of land-tenure there is evidence of successful collective action in managing forests. However, its sustainability is questionable. The study is based on empirical work wherein data is collected from three villages, each representing an Institutional structure, located in forest-tribal rich Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, India."

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