Joint Forest Planning and Management (JFPM) in the Eastern Plains Region of Karnataka: A Rapid Assessment

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"Over the past decade Joint Forest Management (JFM) has become the key concept through which forest generation activities are being implemented in most parts of India. This study was a rapid independent assessment of the JFPM activities conducted by Karnataka Forest department under a massive loan from the Japanese Bank for International Co-operation, focusing on the northern and southern maidan regions. The assessment used data from various sources at different scales and depth, including macro-level data gathered by the department itself, responses to a mail-in questionnaire, observations from brief field visits to a number of villages, and from in-depth case studies in a few villages. "The study uncovered several lacunae in the way JFPM was being undertaken. Many of the basic tenets of joint planning and management, like consultation with villagers and setting up of Village Forest Committees (VFCs) are being violated from the outset. The selection of villages has been poor. Most VFCs exist in name only with poor participation of the village general body. "Some of the lacunae in JFPM implementation are due to lacunae in the basic framework for JFPM. It is also true that the Eastern Plains region presents special challenges to JFPM implementation. But genuine JFPM is generally absent even in pockets where favourable conditions exist. On the contrary, the few success stories are often cases of exploiting existing hierarchies to meet narrowly defined goals. Thus, the major cause of the poor quality of JFPM processes and outcomes is the refusal of the implementation agency to seriously commit itself to the concept of participatory, people-oriented forestry."
participatory development, participatory management, Joint Forest Management