ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Decentralised Forest Governance in Central Himalayas: A Re-evaluation of Outcomes

A study conducted in 45 villages in the central Himalayas assesses the current status of van panchayats, an old institution of decentralised forest governance. It finds that locals are indifferent to the administrative jurisdiction of the forest in the course of their resource extraction activities. There is no quantitative evidence that they are exercising restraint while accessing and using locally governed forests. Collective rule violation appears to be common. The inhabitants are unaware about the long-term ecological implications of their actions. As a consequence, both van panchayat forests as well as the state-controlled forests have degraded badly over the years. Rising population pressure also seems to be undermining the efficacy or even the persistence of these age-old local institutions.

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