Mapping Community Forest Resource Potential and Progress
in CFR Recognition in Central India


Generating an estimate of how much land could come under CFR rights and where is not an easy task. The pattern of land and forest boundary settlement in our country is highly complex and the quality of land records, statistics and maps available is poor.

Broadly speaking, CFR rights may be claimed by a village over forest land that is within the village’s revenue boundary or over forest land that is adjacent to or surrounding the village but technically outside its revenue boundary. We therefore used a combination of Census data on village wise land-use and a GIS approach to identify villages likely to claim CFR rights and the minimum potential area they might claim. Our two-part approach is as follows:

  1. All the villages that have more than 10 ha of forest area within their revenue boundaries (as per Census 2011 village amenities tables) were first identified, and their forest area aggregated.
  2. For villages that are in or adjacent to ‘forest lands outside village revenue boundaries’, we used a thumb rule that their customary boundary would extend to at least 2 km into the forest. We then identified and estimated the area in such a 2 km buffer to forest adjacent villages. This 2 km figure is a very approximate thumb-rule, based on field observations about the areas that are likely to be under customary use and management.

The total of the CFR potential is then the sum of areas in parts 1 and 2 above. The list of CFR potential villages is the ‘union’ of the lists in parts 1 and 2, because there may be some villages that have more than 10 ha of forest area within their revenue boundary and also have forests adjacent to their revenue boundary. The detailed method is available in the report.

The method provides a ‘guesstimate’ of the lower bound on what might be the aggregate CFR area that might be claimed. It is meant to guide policy and action at the state and district level. It is not at all meant to represent the exact picture of ‘what can be claimed’ or ‘what should be claimed’ at the village or hamlet level. That can only emerge from on-the-ground processes of claim-making and verification as per the FRA.