...exploring how people shape the world's forests


June 2000 marked the creation of a CRC in Nagpur, India, based at the Institute for Research and Development (SHODH; www.shodh-research.org). This CRC established 21 IFRI sites and has revisited 8 sites. In 2012, the CRC moved to a new home and is now housed in the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES; www.fes.org.in).

From the 13 IFRI-based research studies undertaken by the CRC, preliminary results indicate the following.

1. Poor investment in institution building under the Joint Forest Management (JFM) Program has resulted in deterioration of not only the resource but also of the local formal institution set up under the program.

2. Local/community level leadership plays an important role in making collective action successful.

3. Coordination between formal and informal institutions is necessary for sustainable collective action.

4. Social capital, a necessary element in success of collective action, can be revived as well as be built afresh with conscious efforts.

5. Communities located far from the Forest Department’s range or division level offices usually get less attention and support under JFM. Such communities are usually far from markets and income generating employment opportunities. Due to lack of alternatives, such communities continue to depend heavily on forests, thereby impacting it adversely.

6. Communities located within and on the fringes of a Protected Area continue to depend substantially on forests despite curtailment of their rights. However, communities located inside have lesser impact on the resource than those located on the border.

Most of the studies have resulted in publications in national and international journals and book chapters. The CRC has adopted a policy of translating major findings of the study into the local language and sharing it with the communities with whom the studies were undertaken.

For more information, contact Rucha Ghate (ruchaghate@gmail.com).

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