Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

Exploiting natural resources for development

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 08, 2006

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What is your opinion on the concept of reclaiming land for tribals?

Ans: That would be very important all over India. One of the problems that tribals are facing is that their land is not regularised and the government finds it very easy to throw them out if say something like minerals are found. In Orissa, parts of which were princely states, no proper surveys were done and no land given. The Orissa government also did not bother to regularise the land after independence. In a place called Kashipur, the tribals were cultivating land, considered it their own. A lot of bauxite was found, a Norwegian company came in, and the government just threw them out.

Tribals have not had proper land deeds and so on, and this must be changed. They want their right to land and this must be changed all over

Well-known historian and writer Ramachandra Guha

on the website:



Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

Tribal Bill 2006

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 04, 2006

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The tribal bill provides communities right to protect and manage any "community forest resource" that they have been traditionally conserving and to impose penalties on anyone violating rules.

Sariska was the only reserve with people's participation in the conservation of the tiger. Investigations have revealed that the Bawariya tribes residing within the reserve supported the poachers in Sariska. In Ranthambore, it is well known that the Mogia tribe has been involved in hunting for generations.

Similar knowledge exists for all our national parks and reserves which need to be collated and put to use while formulating the final bill.


Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

Research Paper-South Africa

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 30, 2006

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Research Paper dated 17 Feb 2005 by School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, South Africa

New forest policies in South Africa seek to reconcile conservation and development objectives by devolving some responsibilty for forest management from the state to local communities. Community participation in forest management aims to protect forest-based subsistence livelihoods by incorporating the interests of resource users, while simultaneously diffusing threats to biodiversity by managing resource use.

To date, participatory forest management (PFM) has had mixed success in South Africa because the transfer of rights to users has not accompanied changes in policy. A questionnaire survey of 60 households (43%) revealed the attitudes of users toward current management and conservation options for iGxalingenwa forest. Users chose participatory forest management (52%) over community (25%) or state-dominated forest management (2%) structures.

User choice was motivated by the desire to secure rights of access to, and ensure equitable benefit from, a dwindling resource base, rather than the conservation of these resources to sustain future yields. Users were unwilling to reduce resource use and compromise usufruct rights to achieve conservation goals, even to improve the availability of the resource stock.

Current user needs compromise biodiversity conservation goals, and users regard state conservation practices as protectionist and obstructing their rights of access to resources. While the National Forest Act of 1998 seek to conserve resources by limiting access to them and is based on principles of sustainable use, it is nevertheless perceived to offer few incentives to users to participate in forest management and conservation.

Ideally, an institutional and legal framework that allocates user rights and managerial responsibilities to households is required, but clearlysuitable alternatives to forest produce are also vital for successful management. Greater trust between the provincial parks authority and users is needed, but is complicated by weak traditional leadership and poor community representation.

Ultimately, users preferred PFM because, while recognising that harvest rates are unsustainable, user dependence upon forest resources and weak traditional leadership means they can protect usufruct rights only by participation. Changes to any of these factors may create demands for a new management system. PFM allows the greatest flexibility for responding to changes in demands as well as the environment.

While there is no implementation blueprint that suits every situation, the researchers feel that participatory management of iGxalingenwa forest is the preferred management institution.

However, its success will depend on an improvement on the levels of trust between stakeholders, particularly between users and forest owners(the State). Recognition of community property and access rights is an important prerequisite for participation by users in forest management.

 ( John Robertson and Michael J. Lawes ( 2005), Environmental Conservation 32(1) 64-75)

Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

Conservation in Africa

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 28, 2006

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Community based conservation projects in Africa have contributed to decreases in poaching. Increase in wildlife game reserves and direct benefits from trophy hunting have promoted a utalitarian, economic approach to conservation at the expense of scientific, ethical and aeasthetic considerations.

Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

A study done in Annapurna Conservation area (Nepal)

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 25, 2006

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Community -based approaches to management of protected areas are increasingly being implemented in many areas. In a research study published in the journal Environmental Conservation (2005), the effectiveness of community- based approaches for conservation of biodiversity was examined in Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) Nepal.

"A combination of ecological and social surveys were undertaken both within and outside ACA, enabling areas under community-based management to be compared with adjacent areas under traditional forms of land use.

Forest basal area and tree species diversity were found to be significantly higher inside ACA, associated with a decline in use of fuelwood as an energy source over the past decade. Social surveys also indicated that wild animal populations have increased inside ACA since the inception of community-based conservation. Observations of animal track counts, pellet counts and direct observations of selected species such as barking deer and Himalayan tahr indicated higher abundances within ACA."

It will be interesting to know the increase/decrease of wildlife population inside ACA before and after adoption of community based management.

( Ref: Effectiveness of community involvement in delivering conservation benefits to the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. by S.B. Bajracharya Environmental Conservation, 32(3): 239-247, 2005)

Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

A joke by our 'thinkers'

Posted by Rauf Ali on June 23, 2006

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Two astonishing features of the bill leap out: The process: we've wiped out the tiger in some places, so wiping out more habitat will ensure its future, according to the Tiger Task Force. Or should it be 'Task Farce'? More Lucid Logic: Since 10 lakh hectares of forest have already been destroyed after the Forest Conservattion Act was passed, its reasonable to advance the cutoff date for encroachers, etc. to the present, and thus destroy even more forest land. The politicians know what they are doing: expanding their vote banks even if it means the loss of most of our remaining forest. I'm not convinced the so-called tribal rights people have applied their minds to the issue. After all, people are people. Does anybody seriously believe that destruction will stop once control is handed over? Why not actually visit forest areas and spend serious time there in understanding the issues?

Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

Definition of traditional forest dwellers

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 20, 2006

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According to Ashish Kothari of 'Kalpavriksh', an environment action group, the expansive definition of traditional forest dwellers, provides scope for state governments, land mafia and local elites to claim large areas of recently encroached land as legitimate.

It could also exacerbate local conflicts, e.g. in the North- eastern states, where people from outside have occupied forest land recently, at the expense of the local tribal communities.

( Hindustan Times, June 20, 2006)

Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

tribal Bill-is the cut off date of 2005 going to benefit the real tribals?

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 18, 2006

Forum Post

On 18th June 2006 we had an online chat on the "Tribal bill". The chat log can be read by clicking on the link below.

This BLOG invites comments from all our members on the issues concerning our forests if the Bill is enacted in its present form.

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