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

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Institutional Analysis of Dependency on Forest Resources

The dynamics between formal and informal players is essential to understand local dependence on forest resources and the effects of institutional arrangements on conservation and conflict. A study of three villages at the Navegaon National Park, Maharashtra was undertaken to analyse these dynamics following an ethnomethodological approach. The impact of institutional dynamics on resource dependency and conflict is explored through the implementation of forest conservation programmes, interactions between formal and informal players and within village communities, impacts of displacement threats, migration and resource restrictions on informal players, redesign of religious institutions, and human–wildlife conflict.

Informed consent was obtained from all 60 respondents across the three villages which were a part of the research for this paper. The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewer for their comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Any errors are the authors’ sole responsibility.

Biodiversity is significant for the existence of life on earth. Expectedly then, its conservation is a priority for many environmental and developmental organisations (Wells and Brandon 1992), governmental and non-governmental agencies, and scholars. Serious concerns have been expressed over the ongoing loss of biodiversity (Lepetu et al 2009). Therefore, several worldwide governments have established parks and protected areas (Shyamsundar 1997) on the premise that biodiversity must be preserved and be free of human interference (Colchester 1994). Nevertheless, biodiversity is in crisis due to the complex interactions between humans and wildlife.

The debates surrounding the establishment of protected areas and the exclusion of locals leading to livelihood insecurities are decades- or centuries-old. Indian lands managed under protected areas are largely interspersed with human population (Ghate and Ghate 2011). The local dependency on protected areas spans a variety of reasons (Illukpitiya 2005: 2) and is often inevitable due to social, cultural, economic, ecological, and political factors (Rai and Uhl 2004; Shahabuddin and Prasad 2004; Gubbi and MacMillan 2008). Understanding such interrelationships of humans, their cultures, and ecosystems (Dyball 2010) is crucial to defining conservation and livelihoods.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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