424 pages, colour photos
The forest sector in India is currently going through an unprecedented churning. Every dimension of forest-related decision-making, including rights of local communities, conversion of forests to non-forest uses and setting aside forests for wildlife conservation, has become the subject of intense scrutiny, debate and change. The involvement of multiple actors, from local communities to the Supreme Court, marks a shift in the discourse from forest management to forest governance. Questions of forest rights, responsibilities, regulatory structures, transparency and accountability have increasingly become central to the discourse. The need to democratize all these components of forest governance is being repeatedly articulated.
Democratizing Forest Governance in India highlights this shift in the discourse and analyses the complex issues involved in bringing about democratic governance of forests in India. The essays in Democratizing Forest Governance in India review developments over the last two decades along four dimensions: forests for local management, forests for wildlife conservation, conversion to non-forest purposes, and the wider socio-economic context and how it poses challenges to the idea of democratic governance. The themes range from the relevance of the Joint Forest Management programme, the contribution of the Forest Rights Act, the complexities of the Godavarman case and the changes in the Wildlife Act to challenges posed by shifting cultivation, scientific versus traditional knowledge, and the effect of economic growth on forest dependence.
List of Tables and Figures
List of Abbreviations
Forest Governance beyond Joint Forest Management, Godavarman, and Tigers, Sharachchandra Lele and Ajit Menon
I: Governing Forests Prioritized for Local Use
1. What Is Wrong with Joint Forest Management?, Sharachchandra Lele
2. Adivasis, Pastoralists, and Forest Governance: Challenges and Opportunities, Sagari R. Ramdas
3. Undoing Historical Injustice: Reclaiming Citizenship Rights and Democratic Forest Governance through the FRA, Madhu Sarin
II: Governing Forests Prioritized for Conservation
4. Views from the Podu: Approaches for a Democratic Ecology of India's Forests, Nitin D. Rai
5. Changing Paradigms in Wildlife Conservation in India, Neema Pathak Broome, Shiba Desor, Ashish Kothari, and Arshiya Bose
III: Governing the Forest-Non-forest Boundary
6. The Making of Forest (Re)Publics: Popular Engagement with Official Decision-making on Forest Conversions, Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon
7. Boundaries of Forest Lands: The Godavarman Case and Beyond, Shomona Khanna
IV: Some Cross-cutting Issues
8. Erasing the Swiddens: Shifting Cultivation, Land and Forest Rights in Odisha, Kundan Kumar
9. The Forest Rights Act, Northeast India, and Shifting Cultivators: A Commentary, Dhrupad Choudhury
10. Of Rights and Regeneration: The Politics of Governing Forest and Non-forest Commons, Prakash Kashwan and Viren Lobo
11. The Commons and Rural Livelihoods: Shifting Dependencies and Supra-local Pressures, Ajit Menon, Viren Lobo, and Sharachchandra Lele
About the Editors and Contributors
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Sharachchandra Lele is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Environment and Development, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bengaluru. Ajit Menon is Associate Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies.
Ajit Menon is Associate Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies
Arshiya Bose is a member of Kalpavriksh and a doctoral student at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Ashish Kothari is a founder-member of the Indian environmental group Kalpavriksh
Dhrupad Choudhury is the Regional Programme Manager of ICIMOD's Regional Programme on Adaptation to Change
Kanchi Kohli is researcher, writer, and campaigner working on environmental, forest, and biodiversity governance in India
Kundan Kumar completed his PhD in Resource Development from Michigan State University and is now an Assistant Professor in Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto
Madhu Sarin has worked for over 30 years on community based natural resource governance by gender-equal and democratic community institutions
Manju Menon is the Program Director of the Namati-CPR Environment Justice Program and a member of Kalpavriksh
Neema Pathak Broome is a member of Kalpavriksh and coordinates the Conservation and Livelihoods programme in the organization
Nitin D. Rai is a Fellow at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore
Prakash Kashwan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at University of Connecticut, Storrs
Sagari R. Ramdas is Director of Anthra-Hyderabad, a resource group that works with peasant, pastoralist and adivasi communities, particularly women, on environment and social justice concerns in the context of food sovereignty
Sharachchandra (Sharad) Lele is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Environment and Development, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bengaluru
Shiba Desor is a member of Kalpavriksh, based in Pune. She works on issues of conservation and livelihoods, with a focus on policy and practice related to community based governance of forests
Shomona Khanna is an advocate practicing in the Supreme Court of India and the Delhi High Court
Viren Lobo is currently Executive Director of SPWD and has been engaged in action research on various issues related to livelihoods, governance, and ecology of natural resources.