Relocation Blues: Compromises Locals Have to Make for Conservation

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"Increasing global concern for threatened biodiversity has resulted in many countries offering total protection to large areas of forests, declaring them as 'protected areas'. Such exclusive management of forests and wildlife therein has been the predominant management strategy in India. It necessitates various restrictions on, and in some cases removal of forest communities residing within and on the peripheries of forests. The approach envisages no role for the locals in conservation of natural resources and invariably results in the local communities getting alienated from the entire process of conservation. This paper presents a case of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, located in a backward region of Maharashtra State in India. Six villages within the reserve have been awaiting their inevitable resettlement for the past 20 years. The villagers have lost their income source, are denied access to forest produce and every infrastructure development is stalled. It is only recently that process of actual relocation has been started for one of the six villages. Study of this process has brought to fore the loopholes, inadequacy of relocation package and provisions therein, absence of coordination between various government agencies involved, and continued lack of communication between the community to be relocated and the implementing agency responsible for the relocation."
IASC, conservation, biodiversity, migration, protected areas