Community-conserved areas in India:opportunities and challenges

Dr Sushil Saigal, Dr Aditya Gangadharan, Ms Sunpreet Kaur, Dr Shaleen Singhal

ICASS Policy Brief

Community-conserved areas (CCAs)1 are sites that are voluntarily conserved by local communities for a diversity of reasons including their biodiversity values, cultural significance, and ecosystem services. They may include natural or anthropogenic ecosystems and their management may be determined by customary laws or cultural traditions. Although CCAs are generally small compared to gazetted protected areas, they are disproportionately important because they derive from voluntary efforts initiated and managed by local custodians. They are also a manifestation of a deeper conservation ethic, which can be used as the foundation to catalyse wider conservation benefits.