ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Can Communities Plan, Grow and Sustainably Harvest from Forests?

Extensive experimental research has been devoted to the study of behaviour related to public goods, common-pool resources and other social dilemmas. In a majority of these studies, it is found that subjects tend to cooperate if they are allowed to communicate and make their own rules of use. In the context of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, a number of questions are being raised at public forums. Are communities capable of managing a valuable resource like a forest? Will transfer of authority not result in large-scale deforestation? Are traditional norms of sustainable harvesting still effective even after increased access to markets and commercialisation? This paper reports on the findings of four field experiments that evolved in the course of a study conducted in two indigenous communities in Maharashtra. Both of the communities have had past traditions of shared norms and mutual trust, and their behaviour in the experiments shows that the communities still tend to be non-exploitative, non-commercial, and cooperative for prioritising, planning, and managing resource sustainably.

Remembering Elinor Ostrom

A tribute to the economist, Elinor Ostrom, who went far beyond the public-private goods dichotomy to understand the evolution of societal frameworks and develop the institutions and development framework. She challenged the notion of "tragedy of the commons" and her fi eld experiments helped understand in some of the critical tenets of institutional analysis to provide the rationale behind citizens' abilities to craft institutions to cope successfully with commons in some settings though not in others.

Ostrom on India and Nepal

In their commentary on Elinor Ostrom’s 2009 Nobel award, J Bandyopadhyay et al (7 November) provide an interesting discussion of Ostrom’s research on the governance of common property resources and its significance for scholars and planners in south Asia and India. It does not, however, provide an...

Bureaucratic Strategies in Relocation

The relocation earlier this year of the residents of one village in Tadoba Reserve in Maharashtra showed the bureaucracy adopting strategies that did not respect the villagers' right to live with material dignity.

Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve: Relocation versus Wildlife Preservation

The future of local residents of villages within the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, currently facing relocation, appears uncertain. Even as the reserve has been conferred the status of a national park, local residents, however, have had little say in deciding their own relocation, whether on matters of livelihood security, availability of amenities such as water and electricity, or education.
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