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Role of Monitoring in Institutional Performance: Forest Management in Maharashtra, India

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Ghate, Rucha; Nagendra, Harini
Journal: Conservation & Society
Volume: 3
Date: 2005
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2537
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): joint management
monitoring and sanctioning
community forestry
Abstract: "In this article we examine the role of monitoring, believed to be crucial for effective participatory common property management. While governing a common pool resource such as forests, there may be conditions that tempt individuals to cheat and gain substantially higher benefits. This is dis-advantageous for other participants, and can adversely affect resource condition. Monitoring includes ensuring rule compliance, dealing with infractions and guarding forest areas against outsider entry. Here we examine the impact of institutional structure on monitoring and, consequently, on the effectiveness of forest management. We examine the three most frequent approaches in India, namely community initiated management, non-governmental organisation (NGO) promoted forest management, and state sponsored Joint Forest Management (JFM). Through a comparison of 3 case studies in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in central India, we conducted a detailed comparison of forests that are situated in similar bioclimatic conditions and similar social environments. We assess community approaches to monitoring using detailed social interviews with communities and integrate this with an analysis of forest condition at the tree, sapling and seedling level using forest plot data. Our findings indicate that local enforcement has been most effective in the case where forest management was initiated by the community, with better regeneration, and negligible evidence of grazing and fire. Inefficient monitoring was apparent in the state initiated JFM village, with uncontrolled grazing and fire, leading to heavy damage to the forest. In the third case, with NGO promoted forest management, greater importance was given to protecting the resource from outsiders, while neglecting the overuse of forest products by the community members."

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