Democratizing Forest Governance in India
Forests are by their very nature a complex socio-ecological entity. The forest sector in India is currently going through an unprecedented churning. Every dimension of forest related decision-making has become a subject of intense scrutiny, debate, and change. The involvement of multiple actors, from local communities to the Supreme Court, marks a shift in the discourse from forest management to forest governance.
The forestry debate has shifted from 'how to conserve forests' or 'how to afforest wasteland' to 'who are the stakeholders relevant to the forest question', 'who should have the primary say', 'what are the rights of non-local stakeholders', and 'what should be the process for converting to non-forest land'. The book, Democratizing Forest Governance in India, edited by Sharachchandra Lele and Ajit Menon highlights this shift in the discourse and analyzes the complex issues involved in bringing about democratic governance of forests in India. The themes range from the relevance of the Joint Forest Management programme, the contribution of the Forest Rights Act, the complexities of the Godavarman case, and the changes in the Wildlife Protection Act, to challenges posed by shifting cultivation, scientific versus traditional knowledge, and the effect of economic growth on forest dependence. Contributors include Nitin D. Rai, Kanchi Kohli, Ashish Kothari, Kundan Kumar, Sagari Ramdas, Madhu Sarin, besides the editors.
Sharachchandra Lele is a Senior Fellow at ATREE and is Convenor of the research programme on Forests and Governance within ATRE’s Centre for Environment and Development. Ajit Menon is Associate Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai.
Lele, S. and A. Menon (Eds). 2014. Democratizing forest governance in India. India: OUP
Hardback, 448 pages, price 495.00