Analysing the transformative potential of Community Forest Resource rights in Maharashtra
Maharashtra has been at the forefront of CFR recognition and promotion of CFR management, especially in the Adivasi-inhabited Vidarbha region. More than 5,000 villages have received CFR rights, some of them as far back as in 2012. Probably a thousand-odd are engaged in NTFP collection and marketing on their own, starting way back in 2013. Several hundreds of these have made CFR management plans, some of them since 2014. We are studying whether and under what conditions CFR management can realise its transformative potential, i.e., enhance livelihoods equitably, empower communities and conserve/regenerate forests. We have chosen six case study villages from two districts of eastern Maharashtra (Amravati and Yavatmal) where villages have exercised their CFR rights for at least five years, have baseline (pre-CFR) ecological and socio-economic data, and differ in the initial condition of their forest. We are working in partnership with civil society organisations (KHOJ Melghat and GSMT) that have supported these villages. We are gathering data on the post-management ecological status of the CFR, the socio-economic status of the households, their involvement in decision-making and the external support and constraints they have faced.