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Social Forestry and Communal Management in India

Research reports

Drawing on a study of common property resource management in India, this paper presented a concise but comprehensive evaluation of the country's Social Forestry programme fourteen years after its inception. Although woodlots provided valuable new resources on public land, the broadest ambitions of the various projects had been thwarted by many factors: choice of species inappropriate to peoples' needs, an emphasis on marketing which excluded poorer people, vesting of control in unrepresentative panchayats or ad hoc committees, lack of the local capital needed to transfer woodlots from Forest Departments to local management, and absence of formal rights of tenure. Successful projects tended to be in areas of high resources where residents shared similar use patterns. Elsewhere residents might rationally prefer the state to retain management of public woodlots.

J E M Arnold