The Forests and Governance programme will analyse existing forest governance in India, including policy on joint forest management (JFM), non-timber forest products (NTFPs), the forest land 'encroachment' question, net present value, and protected area policy, and collaborate with various groups to offer alternative approaches. The effort will be to bring back into the forest policy debate the changing socio-economic context of local communities, the importance of historically-situated and locally nuanced forest rights arrangements, and the need for institutional arrangements that link local and global stakeholders in a fair manner.
Forests and common lands generate products and services that benefit stakeholders at many scales – local, regional and global. What is the form and nature of these stakes? How do the stakes change depending upon the socio-ecological and economic context, history and framing of the problem? How may they be compared and prioritized? How are current attempts to define stakes, decentralize institutional arrangements and regulate forest loss actually playing out? And how could forest governance better reconcile competing claims and multiple stakes? The Forests and Governance programme at ATREE focuses on these questions in the context of the forests of south Asia.
Specifically, the programme will carry out research on the ecology of sustainable forest use and extraction by local communities, the ethnography of traditional ecological knowledge, the economics of forest dependence and impacts of different forest governance regimes and economic contexts, and the institutional and legal analysis of different existing and proposed changes in forest management in the region. Our effort will be to bring back into the forest policy debate the changing socio-economic context of local communities, the importance of historically situated and locally nuanced forest rights arrangements, and the need for institutional arrangements that link local and global stakeholders in a fair manner.
Research undertaken reflects engagement with the issues addressed. It combines ATREE and CISED histories and can be categorized under three main heads:
There has been intense and long-term collaboration with local communities in specific sites, organizing training programmes and research and policy workshops, building networks with various NGO and activist groups, and speaking and writing to public and policy audiences. Activities organized in the past include: