Common Property Resource Management in Haryana State, India: A Success Story of the Rehabilitation of Degraded Village Common Lands

"Common property resources continue to be a significant component of the land resources base for rural communities in developing countries such as India. This is prominent in the semi-arid and arid areas of Haryana. Despite significant contributions to the rural community, common property resources have experienced severe degradation, continuous erosion and are becoming transformed in to open access regimes due to increasing population pressure. For many villages in southern Haryana this has increasingly turned out to be the dual tragedy of environmental collapse and pauperisation of the already poor. "Southern Haryana consists of the oldest mountain range in India, the Aravallis. The Aravallis play a significant role in protecting the fertile Indo-Gangetic plains on their eastern side against invading sand drifts from the Thar desert. Increasing pressure from human and livestock numbers has taken a heavy toll of the vegetation leaving the Aravallis almost bare with consequent adverse environmental effects. This has resulted in reduced welfare of the inhabitants of the region, particularly the women, who have to travel long distances to collect firewood and fodder. Realising the enormity of the problem and the critical need to initiate action for greening the Aravallis, the Government and the people have come together to establish a participatory planning and development process at the village level. "Where the participatory process has resulted in establishing a common property regime in place of an open access system reversal of environmental degradation has been recorded together with improvement in welfare of local people. Mechanisms and processes involved in assisting local people to establish common property resource management will be discussed."
IASC, land tenure and use, village organization, rural development, mountain regions, tragedy of the commons