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Approaches to Social Forestry in Western India: Some Aspects of NGO Experience

Research reports

This paper highlighted some of the issues arising out of social forestry initiatives in India supported by the Aga Khan Foundation and run by local NGOs. The NGOs worked as facilitators of development but lack of resources and under-developed links with governmental agencies limited the scope of their activities. By representing poor members of communities, the NGOs could not act as impartial arbitrators among stakeholders and also risked precipitating social upheaval, especially where local traders and moneylenders were losing out. Experience indicated the importance of project flexibility; tree planting was not always the best use of common property wastelands as fodder for livestock was often of greater value to local residents.

Parmesh Shah, Andrew Weir