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Title: Change in Role and Status of Van Panchayat in Conservation and Management of Forest After the Introduction of Joint Forest Management
Authors: Kumar, Amit
Keywords: EESD-2015
Dutta, Pijush K.
Van Panchayat- Conservation and Management of Forest
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: TISS Guwahati Campus
Abstract: “Joint Forest Management (JFM) is directed towards facilitating the increase in productivity of hitherto degraded forests through active involvement of local communiti es in project formulation, harvesting, benefit sharing, marketing and monitoring ” (Pathan, 1994). Uttarakhand state adopted the JFM policy passed by U.P. Government in 1997 to manage and utilize the forest resources keeping the active participation of loca l communities and other forest user groups. The present study is aimed at understanding the change in role and status of Van Panchayats in conservation and management of forest after the introduction of JFM. The study was carried out purposively in Nainita l District based on the data comparison of State of Forest Report, India. A sample of fourteen VPs was reached out for the study, out of which ten VPs responded and four of them were left out due to unavailability of Sarpanch in the village. Two of the VPs are untouched by JFM implementation although some of the ideas affected the settings and functioning of the same. The findings indicate that JFM programme has further weakened the strengthening of village institutions and centralized the ownership on fore st resources. The participation has declined and ultimately the VPs are now facing the organizational challenges along with degraded forest resources. The problems have diversified into water resources, access to resources, change in attitude towards socia l sharing and forest protection. JFM programme failed in its objectives of increasing forest cover, active participation, and benefit sharing mechanisms, later resulted in inactivity of programme due to lack of funding by World Bank after 2002. The reasons of failures is hidden in the rational of JFM programme itself as the programme was meant to revive the degraded forest and strengthen the community participation whereas the forest of Uttarakhand state was efficiently being managed by community and the in tervention was much needed in strengthening of the village institutions like, VPs, so as to enable them more profoundly to conserve and manage their resources for larger benefits of the society with promotion for community rights and local decentralized go vernance.
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