Achieving Conservation and Livelihood: A Case Study from Orissa, India

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"The forest policies are primarily reviewed from time to time on the assessment of function of formal/state institutions responsible for conservation and management of forest. However, a variety of informal institutions embedded with social and human capitals, operating at grassroots level, do not get recognized for their conservation potential by the policy makers as these institutions are legally not recognized. Besides, there is lack of scientific methodology to empirically measure the effectiveness of these institutions. Consequently, there exists a knowledge gap between the appreciation of issues between the policy establishment and that of the stakeholders at the local level. Through an interdisciplinary approach, we provide empirical evidences in favour of local institutions regulating community based forest management (CFM) in the state of Orissa, India and present model for sustainable development.The integrated approach of remotes sensing, GIS and field inventory developed in the study is an important scientific contribution to monitoring of the forest cover and livelihood studies at a village level, where majority of CFM operates. By virtue of statistical soundness of the methodology, the study has provided convincing and easily understandable results in favour of community based forest management in Orissa as a viable option towards forest protection and management. The comparative analysis on the livelihood patterns in the three districts of the state revealed that CFM has contributed towards forest protection and regeneration; however, the potential of forest towards livelihood enhancement is not yet fully realized. The study further discusses a model to achieve ecological sustainability on one hand and enhancing incomes of the forest-dependent communities on the other hand."
community forestry, CBRM, ecological economics, sustainability, livelihoods