Involving Local Communities for Sustainable Forest Management: A Study of Participatory Forest Management Institutions in Orissa
Do the institutional structures influence the outcomes of participatory forest management institutions? Participatory institutions for the management of natural resources like forests have a long past in India as well as in other parts of the world. This has evolved with a continuous human-natural resource interaction. During colonial rule these resources were nationalized without due importance to traditional common property institutions has made these resources de facto open access resources and consequently faced the ‘tragedy of commons’. There are two types of participatory institutions in operation for management of forest in Orissa, a state in eastern part of India. These are, community initiated management groups and government (forest department) initiated institutions. This paper makes an attempt to analyze the evolution and performance of institutions like community initiated and government initiated groups of Orissa by using Institution Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework. An empirical analysis is made by using data collected from six forest protecting communities representing these participatory forest management institutions from two forest divisions of Orissa. Government initiated institutions have benefited people in terms of creating employment opportunities and dealing with inter village boundary conflicts. Both the institutions have inherent weaknesses that affect the level of collective action for sustainable management of natural resources like forest. The weaknesses associated with community initiated institutions can mostly be attributed to the policy of the government that does not recognize CFM institutions and hence not extending benefits meant for forest protecting communities.
Keywords: Institutional Structure, Collective Action, Joint Forest Management, Community Forest Management, Orissa, India
Prof. R. K. Sharma
Professor of Economics and Chairperson, Center for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Bibhu Prasad Nayak
Doctoral Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University