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Contextualising Community Participation and Forest Policies in India: A Field Experience from Madhya Pradesh

Bongurala Gangadhar

Tata Institute of Social Sciences


The participation of people in the management of forest is not new to India but its roots are seen from the attachment of the people to the forest from great cultures and civilizations that originated in India. The role of community participation makes a sustainable approach for the development and use of the forest produce by the tribes and other traditional forest dwelling communities for their survival. After the introduction of National Forest Policy, 1894 there has been a declaration of forest into protected, commercial and minor forest made these communities vulnerable making them access the resources from the minor forest and entry into other sections of the forest deemed as a act against the authority of government. The introduction of “The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006” revolutionised the rights of these communities for land rights and formation of Joint Forest Management Committees with the support of Gram Sabha. This paper presents the role of community and the law framed by the state for protection of forest at the same time protecting the interests of the communities attached to the forest, it also studies the field experiences from the Harda and Betul districts of Madhya Pradesh with participation of the tribal communities for access to forest rights and title deeds.

Keywords: Community participation, Forest resource, Forest rights, Joint management committee, Land rights, Protected forest.

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