Joint Forest Management and Eco Development: Do these conservation interventions always achieve what they aspire?
PhD Candidate, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS)
Participation by local communities has long been recognized as a key component of successful biodiversity conservation. The involvement of local communities in biodiversity management can have different purposes: from conflict management, to generating local community support for conservation and introducing local knowledge to management decisions. Participation can lead to positive attitudes of local people towards conservation, their pro-conservation behavior and ultimately positive changes in biodiversity indicators. The social and ecological conservation outcomes of community participation depend on several factors- the level of involvement of local people, their control over management decisions, interests of the local people and other stakeholders and institutional framework. Institutional framework depends on whether the initiative is ‘bottom-up’ - initiated by local people or ‘top-down’- initiated by the government or other external resources. Evaluation of the success of such initiatives is essential to ensure effective participation of communities and sustainable forest management.
In a case study published in the Regional Environmental Change journal in 2016, Biljana Macura and co-authors evaluated whether people’s involvement in forest management and conservation in a Tiger Reserve in India through two state-initiated incentive-based (top-down) interventions had an impact on selected social outcomes. The two participatory interventions evaluated were Joint Forest Management (JFM) and Eco-development (ED). The impact of these interventions on social outcomes were evaluated by measuring conservation knowledge of the local people, their attitudes towards biodiversity as well as trust in and satisfaction with the tiger reserve management authorities. The study was carried out in the buffer zone of Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Madhya Pradesh.
NatureNet Fellow, Columbia University
Over the last several years, India has been working to improve tiger conservation by declaring as many protected Tiger Reserves as possible — with around five being declared in 2015 alone. A Tiger Reserve is a category of Protected Area that is especially designated for tiger conservation, and has administrative and funding mechanisms that are different from other categories of PAs.
However, because landscapes outside the reserves are changing so drastically, just protecting isolated islands of habitat surrounded by an ocean of development will not be enough to protect the big cats into the future. Mainly because tigers don’t stay inside Tiger Reserve boundaries.
Our paper Connecting the Dots: Mapping Habitat Connectivity for Tigers in Central India,(1) in Regional Environmental Change identifies areas in the landscape that are important to tiger movement.
Read the full article in Conservation India.
Project Spotlight highlights our members' work in Central India.
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