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Empirical data on household forestland FRA claims approved. a 

Empirical data on household forestland FRA claims approved. a 

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Article
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Scholars and advocates increasingly favor rights-based approaches over traditional exclusionary policies in conservation. Yet, national and international conservation policies and programs have often led to the exclusion of forest-dependent peoples. This article proposes and tests the hypothesis that the failures of rights-based approaches in conse...

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Context 1
... exist- ing documentation focuses largely on the forestry administration's sabotage of the FRA (NCFRA, 2010). Table 1 compiles all data avail- able in the public domain on the area of forestland approved by the village councils, and in some cases, by the district level FRA committees in the key forested states. ...
Context 2
... appreciate the implications of the data presented in Table 1, it is helpful to note that the forest-dependent groups, the locally elected forest rights committee, and the village council have sig- nificant autonomy in making claims under the FRA. The village council sends its recommendation to the sub-district level com- mittee, which in turn sends its recommendations for approval to the district level committee. ...
Context 3
... from the states of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh reported in Table 1 above suggests that the average area of forestland claimed at the village level is less than 2 ha per household. Because the area of forestland claimed to be under cultivation per claim is far below the maximum allowable area of 4 ha, it is reasonable to conclude that the forest people did not try to take advantage of the auton- omy that the FRA afforded to them. ...
Context 4
... the data on the size of forestland claimed aggregated at the district levels in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa also does not support claims of a land rush. Finally the state level data (shown at the bottom of Table 1) also allow the readers to test the claims made by wildlife conser- vation groups that elected leaders, with a short time horizon and an eye on forest peoples' votes, would use the FRA as a land grant program (Munshi, 2005). The current statistics available from five major states puts the average area per claim for household titles under the FRA at close to or less than one hectare (MoTA, 2012). ...

Citations

... The JFM program involved collaboration between forest officials and local community members for managing the forest resources. However, there was limited participation of communities in the planning process that was effectively controlled by the forest departments (Sarin et al., 2003;Bose, 2012;Kashwan, 2013;Joshi, 2016). As Purabi Bose (2012) puts it, the essential idea of JFM seemed to be that 'we decide (the Forest Department) and you participate (the forest people)', and the forest dwellers were often reduced to mere laborers hired to plant trees (Bose, 2012;Kashwan, 2013). ...
... However, there was limited participation of communities in the planning process that was effectively controlled by the forest departments (Sarin et al., 2003;Bose, 2012;Kashwan, 2013;Joshi, 2016). As Purabi Bose (2012) puts it, the essential idea of JFM seemed to be that 'we decide (the Forest Department) and you participate (the forest people)', and the forest dwellers were often reduced to mere laborers hired to plant trees (Bose, 2012;Kashwan, 2013). ...
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This chapter documents the decade-long journey of Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti-an adivasi community-led resistance movement to resist displacement and protect their densely forested and biodiversity-rich region. The movement has successfully resisted the capitalist expansion of mining and infrastructure projects by utilising the available policy and constitutional spaces. The use of decentralized governance provisions (PESA and FRA), continuous, and often proactive, engagement with policy processes for environmental and social clearances have become the focal points of resistance. The 'gram sabha' resolutions and dialogues across scales of governance (local to state and central government), have emerged as valuable tools to bridge the tyranny of distance from the seats of political power and media influence. Further, the strategy of careful framing that amalgamates environmental and social dimensions of resource conflict and tactically leveraging the broader civil society network to amplify local voices has allowed Hasdeo Aranya forests to emerge at the centre stage of energy-conservation policy debates in India. Thus, this article showcases the potential and limits of harnessing the institutional spaces for organized resistance, as available in a constitutional democracy.
... 276 Yet, they are often the same actors upholding the institutional frameworks that enable human rights abuses to unfold with impunity. 277 The same conservation organizations, financed by international donors, can play a role in legitimizing protected areas that have caused known and heinous human rights abuses (Box 11). To access poverty alleviation funding, some conservation actors have also adopted rights-based approaches, but failure to adhere to rights-based frameworks meaningfully and in good faith has undermined their effectiveness. ...
Technical Report
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Global Conservation discourses are often disconnected from the legal and political realities within respective countries. These realities are intertwined with the mobilizations of Indigenous and local community groups to claim their human rights and have them recognized, enforced and protected. This report highlights key data and talking points from South and Southeast Asia to frame the political aspects of conservation within the struggles for rights.
... 34 An early independent review of the key reports on rightsbased approaches revealed three fundamental drawbacks. 35 First, in the rightsbased approach docu ments that they published, global conser vation NGOs often pledged to "respect" overly ambitious, almost utopian sets of rights. For example, these reports claimed to respect indigenous rights to "territorial sovereignty, " while failing to offer guaran tees of protecting even a minimal set of rights. ...
... Third, the rightsbased approaches did not commit global conservation groups to stand in defense of indigenous peoples and other rural communities, whose rights are often violated by statesanctioned extractive projects that also undermine the goals of conservation. 35 The consequences of these fundamental flaws in the rights based approaches promoted by conserva tion NGOs are visible in the form of recurring cases of human rights violations in global conservation projects more than a decade after the establishment of the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights. 108 Instead of promoting and pro tecting community rights, global conser vation groups seem to support centralized control of forests and wildlife areas because they believe that such control is instru mental to the promotion of effective nature conservation. ...
... It is unclear why some of the most reputable global conservation groups would not actively oppose these practices, especially in light of the pledges they have made regarding rightsbased approaches to conserva tion. 35 At the same time, they also exemplify the strategies of avoidance or shirking of responsibility by interna tional groups who bear a duty to address human rights violations in interna tional conservation. 32 These various instances of human rights violations suggest that despite more than a decade of talk, many big conservation NGOs have yet to adhere to the fundamental tenets of rights based approaches they have pledged to follow. ...
... Encompassing a wide range of Indigenous, mixed, and settler populations, peasant communities' identities, cultures, and lifeways are often tied to access and use of natural resources, healthy ecosystems, and sense of place (Dove 2006;Fontana 2014). As such, they are both vulnerable to global environmental change and intimately impacted by efforts to govern the environment (Kashwan 2013). In the face of climate change, for example, initiatives designed to reduce carbon emissions from forest loss and degradation like Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) limit forest peoples' use of and access to forests, therewith impacting their ability to adapt to climate change (Borras and Franco 2018). ...
Article
In this article we examine how and in what ways Indigenous Peoples, ‘marginalized’ actors in international politics, influence global environmental governance. Through a collaborative event ethnography of the Twenty First Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21 or Paris Climate Summit), we empirically capture power as it emerges through interactions between actors, institutions, and spaces. The results demonstrate how Indigenous Peoples influence global environmental governance in two critical ways: first, by situating power through politics of representation, Indigenous Peoples carve out distinct political roles in international arenas; and, second, by contesting the production of various forms rights, Indigenous Peoples generate new meanings and avenues for their pursuits of justice.
... 67 These large-scale dispossessions led to numerous human rights violations, including the deployment of intoxicated elephants to level thatched dwellings and some cases of police shootings. 68 Such unjust actions mobilized nearly 200 civil society organizations and social movements to form a national federationnamed evocatively as the Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD). In July 2003, CSD staged a 'public hearing' in Delhi, which involved live testimonies by aggrieved families and was attended by thousands of Adivasis from several states. ...
Article
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The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) seeks to address the deeply entrenched inequalities that affect the world's peasants and other rural working people. UNDROP's mandate intersects with the goals of land rights and food sovereignty, sustainable development, and socially just climate mitigation and adaptation. We analyse the policy and legal challenges of protecting the rights of India's indigenous Adivasi peasants, whose identities and life-worlds cut across the distinctions that the international community makes between indigenous peoples that are the focus of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and peasants who are at the center of the goals of UNDROP. The rights that India's Adivasis enjoy are comparable to those contained in the UNDROP, have been the subject of longstanding social mobilizations, and a relatively new Act of India's Parliament. However, these rights are also contested by powerful actors in the executive and judiciary branches of government as well as some of the most influential nature conservation groups in India. This investigation puts to test the commonly made arguments about the strengths of India's democratic institutions, including the judicial activism of the Supreme Court of India, which is often referred to as an activist court. In conclusion, we offer five key insights to inform the ongoing efforts of human rights advocates and practitioners to ensure the effective protection of the rights enshrined within UNDROP.
... The current policy is in contrast to historical evictions in the 1970s and 80s from KNP in that it is not directed, provides standardized monetary compensations and households can move to areas in the landscape where they can procure land. Resettlement remains a contentious conservation policy due to implementation of conflicting goals-to create inviolate habitats for wildlife while upholding the legal rights of human communities within protected areas [8,12,45]. The NTCA policy highlights changes in resettlement policy in response to criticisms of historical evictions from protected areas. ...
Article
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Globally, conservation efforts have moved millions of people out of protected areas since the 1970s, yet quantitative studies on post-resettlement well-being remain a challenge due to poor documentation. Since 2008, the Indian forest department records demographic and financial details at the household level under standardized guidelines for resettlement. Here, we examine the food security of approximately 600 households’ post-resettlement from Kanha National Park (KNP) in central India between 2009 and 2014. We compare food security of resettled households with host community households with a total of 3519 household surveys, conducted over three seasons within one year. We measure food security using food consumption scores (FCSs), coping strategies index (CSI) and household hunger scale (HHS). Food insecurity is widespread in the landscape, with over 80% of households reporting poor or borderline FCSs year-round. Additionally, we recorded food insecurity increases in monsoon for all households regardless of resettlement status. Results indicate that resettled households are comparable to their host community neighbors in FCS and all households use mild coping strategies to combat food insecurity. While widespread, food insecurity in the KNP landscape is not acute with very few (<10) reports of severe hunger (as measured by the HHS). Almost all foods are market bought (>90%) and sometimes supplemented by gathering locally prevalent greens or from kitchen gardens (forest dependency for food was negligible). Accruing assets and diversifying incomes from non-labor avenues would alleviate food insecurity for all households. The patterns of market dependence and food security associated with diversified stable incomes around protected areas is in contrast with many studies but is likely to occur in similar human-dominated landscapes.
... There is a well-established and deep scholarship about the negative impacts of conservation on IPLCs. Innumerable scholars have documented aspects such as: evictions and displacement and corporate influence (Brockington and Igoe 2006;Chapin 2004), as well as lack of participation in decision-making processes, respect for free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), and human rights violations (Agrawal and Redford 2009;Alcorn and Royo 2007;Colchester et al. 2008;Kashwan 2013;Lador 2007). They have shown how transforming the power asymmetries that prevent the recognition of IPLC rights has been "painfully slow" (Kashwan 2013, 613), and how the scaling up of conservation in recent decades has led to a reduced focus on local control (Brosius and Russell 2003;Wolmer 2003), combined with rise in the use of violence in protecting biodiversity (Duffy 2010(Duffy , 2014Lunstrum 2014;Massé et al. 2020, Neumann 2004). ...
... Cultural, political and economic mechanisms mediate the implementation of judicial actions (Haglund and Stryker 2015), and the ways in which RBAs are used and their effectiveness vary depending on sociopolitical and legal contexts (Suárez 2013). Recognition of human rights in international law does not necessarily get interpreted in mutually agreed upon ways (Brown et al. 2016), and legal protections do not require the devolution of decision-making over natural resources (Bakker 2007;Johnson and Forsyth 2002;Kashwan 2013;Shackleton et al. 2002). Thus, rightsbased framings alone are insufficient to ensure justice on-the-ground (Wyatt et al. 2015), and they can depoliticize struggles for justice and even entrench unequal or unjust forms of governance (Sultana and Loftus 2015). ...
Article
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Drawing on a collaborative ethnographic study of the 2016 International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress (WCC), we analyze how Indigenous peoples and local community (IPLC) rights advocates have used a rights-based approach (RBA) to advance long-standing struggles to secure local communities' land and resource rights and advance governing authority in biodiversity conservation. The RBA has allowed IPLC advocates to draw legitimacy from the United Nations system—from its declarations to its special rapporteurs—and to build transnational strategic alliances in ways they could not with participatory discourses. Using it, they have brought attention to biodiversity as a basic human right and to the struggle to use, access, and own it as a human rights struggle. In this article, we show how the 2016 WCC provided a platform for building and reinforcing these alliances, advancing diverse procedural and substantive rights, redefining key principles and standards for a rights-based conservation approach, and leveraging international support for enforcement mechanisms on-the-ground. We argue that, as advocates staked out physical and discursive space at the venue, they secured the authority to shape conservation politics, shifting the terrain of struggle between strict conservationists and community activists and creating new conditions of possibility for advancing the human rights agenda in international conservation politics. Nonetheless, while RBAs have been politically successful at reconfiguring global discourse, numerous obstacles remain in translating that progress to secure human rights to resources "on the ground", and it is vital that the international conservation community finance the implementation of RBA in specific locales, demand that nation states create monitoring and grievance systems, and decolonize the ways in which they interact with IPLCs. Finally, we reflect on the value of the Collaborative Event Ethnography methodology, with its emphasis on capturing the mundane, meaningful and processual aspects of policymaking, in illuminating the on-going labor entailed in bringing together and aligning the disparate elements in dynamic assemblages. Keywords: Human rights, global conservation governance, collaborative event ethnography, Indigenous peoples
... This transition of forest management rights has however not been without its trials and tribulations (Tatpati 2015). There is a perception in the forest department that handing over forests to the communities will result in biodiversity loss (Aggarwal 2011;Kashwan 2013). The department has a long history of bamboo management using standard practices codified in the bamboo overlapping working circle prescriptions of the 'forest working plan'. ...
Article
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The purpose of this study is to assess the management of bamboo across the gradient of government and community-managed forests in Maharashtra, a leading Central-Indian state in decentralized forest governance. Over the last few decades, new right-based legislations have paved the way for decentralizing forest governance in India. We first pioneered the multi-stakeholder co-production of criteria and indicators to assess the sustainability of bamboo management. Following this, the sustainability assessment was carried out using mixed methods combining vegetation surveys, focus group discussions and secondary records. We could not detect a significant role of governance in determining bamboo health across governance systems. Instead, sites with favourable locality and biotic factors supported a healthy bamboo crop. We found that while government institutions maximized financial efficiency, community institutions performed better on delivering livelihood benefits and participatory decision making. We could not find evidence of large scale over-harvesting in the community-managed forests. On the contrary, less than 5% of the bamboo potential in these villages was harvested. Traditional bamboo management across the governance gradient focused largely on production aspects. Graduating to sustainable bamboo management will require better protection, resource augmentation , sustainable harvest, enhancing livelihood benefits and creating new bulk markets.
... However, the argument that analysis of the political economy is essential for contributing to explanations of the performance and outcomes of fisheries co-management can also be made for natural resource governance more broadly. This includes community forest management, community-based conservation and protected area management, where politics and power in particular have already been shown to impact on policies and governance (Bluwstein and Lund, 2018;Calfucura, 2018;Kashwan, 2013). ...
... conservation versus economic development via large scale resource extraction) can further exacerbate these challenges and contribute to the continued erosion of the rights of local communities [28,29]. For example, the implementation of the Forest Rights Act in India, which protected the historical rights of forest-dependent communities, was systematically undermined by longstanding opposition from wildlife conservation groups, internal resistance from forestry administrators, and accommodation for existing wildlife conservation regulations [25]. Although it is clear that researchers have developed valuable insights about institutional development and change through case studies and meta-analyses, the lack of a systematic approach has hindered understanding of the underlying conditions and processes that affect institutional change in environmental governance. ...
Article
Elinor Ostrom and colleagues developed the social-ecological system framework with the aim of synthesizing knowledge to foster a better understanding of the relationship between people, institutions and the environment. Although the framework has facilitated the diagnosis of complex systems; it has thus far struggled to account for the role of history in structuring the range of opportunities and constraints that actors face as they interact with the environment and each other. More recent innovations in measuring institutions and the integration of process-oriented approaches are beginning to provide the tools required to systematically trace the co-evolution of institutions and social-ecological systems. We review the history and development of social-ecological system scholarship, including longstanding concerns regarding the weak inclusion of temporal dynamics. We highlight the contributions of three novel advances – namely the combined IAD-SES framework, the institutional grammar tool, and the power in polycentric governance approach.