Ensuring "collective action" in "participatory" forest management
SANDEE, Kathmandu, NP
The Government of India appealed a new forest policy in 1988 which resulted in Joint Forest Management. This new policy allowed community groups to share part of the responsibility of forest management with the State. However, even before this, community-initiated and NGO-promoted “Collective Action– based” resource management had emerged sporadically throughout the country. This paper is based on a qualitative analysis of three case studies, each belonging to one of three types of institutional structures: Self-initiated, NGO-promoted, and Government-sponsored JFM. The basic objectives of all three institutional structures is strengthening ecological security and meeting the subsistence biomass needs of the local people. Yet, they are different, each with its strength and weaknesses. Thus, this paper suggests several important points. First, lack of well-defined property rights over communally managed forests may adversely affect the long term sustainability of local institutions. Second, given the caste hierarchy in Indian villages, the State or another external agency may have to intervene to ensure fair distribution of community forestry benefits. Third, inter-community cooperation, in addition institutions within the village, is necessary in order to ensure sustainable utilization of forest resources. Finally, the paper argues that rather than oscillating between a simplistic either/or model of ‘state’ or ‘village community’, there is a need to conceive of more complex arrangements in which forest areas are protected for multiple objectives, under the joint management of multiple institutions.
EVALUATION, COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION, COLLECTIVE ACTION, JOINT FOREST MANAGEMENT, PROCESS ANALYSIS, FOREST MANAGEMENT, FOREST UTILIZATION, INDIA