Action Research, Capacity-Building and Policy Support
for Community Forest Resource management in Central India

The Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights provision of the Forest Rights Act 2006 (FRA) is a revolutionary step in forest governance in India. It visualizes statutorily backed devolution of forest management authority to the Gram Sabhas, to complement the full transfer of access rights over non-timber forest products given to them under other provisions. Furthermore, it gives the Grasm Sabhas a say in both the determination of Critical Wildlife Habitats and in any future diversion of their CFRs for non-forestry purposes. It thus has the potential to transform the economic and social conditions of forest-dwelling communities while simultaneously enabling sustainable management of the forests and conservation of biodiversity.

Outside of north-east India, the highest concentration of Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis) is in the Central Indian forest belt of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha and Telangana. These are also the states with some of the largest forest areas. The “CFR in Central India” programme, led by Dr.Sharachchandra Lele at ATREE, is engaged in action research, capacity-building and policy support on Community Forest Resource rights at multiple stages: CFR potential estimation and mapping, CFR rights recognition, CFR management planning, and understanding achievements of and bottlenecks in CFR management.

Collaborators: This work is being carried out in collaboration with a number organizations and groups, including Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Kalpavriksh, KHOJ Melghat, Gramin Samassya Mukti Trust (GSMT) Yavatmal, and National Institute of Women, Child and Youth Development (NIWCYD).

Support: This work has received financial support from BRLF, Oxfam India, The/Nudge Foundation, the Bastar District Administration, AJWS and UUA. Core funding has been provided to ATREE by the Ford Foundation and Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies.