Action-research for CFR claim-making and CFR management in Bastar and Baiga Chak
The Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (also known as the FRA) is a revolutionary tool in forest governance. It visualises statutorily backed devolution of forest management authority to gram sabhas and full transfer of rights over non-timber forest products to them. The CFR provision gives local communities the right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource that they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use. It further has the potential to bring about a transformative change in the economic and social conditions of the local people, and improve the management of the forests.
Besides northeast India, the highest concentration of Scheduled Tribes is in central India. Additionally, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand are among the top ten states with respect to forest areas. But, barring Maharashtra, the CFR implementation status is very poor in the rest of the neighbouring states. To address this lack of large-scale on-ground implementation of CFR provisions, this study will try to identify the major hurdles and enabling factors in CFR implementation and CFR management in Maharashtra and other central Indian states, develop policy recommendations and guidelines to remediate it and further suggest better CFR management practices.