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

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Common Property Resources and the Poo

This article reports on a seven-village study of common property resources (CPRs) carried out between 1993 and 1996 from across the agro-ecological zones of West Bengal. Among our findings are: CPRs made up about 12 per cent of poor households' income; fuel and fodder were the most important CPRs accessed by the poor; and women and girls are mainly responsible for collection of CPRs, which may be why their importance to the poor is largely ignored. Poor people are being systematically excluded from customary access to CPRs, a key element in their livelihoods, at an alarming rate. The main causes of this exclusion are agricultural intensification, commoditisation of CPRs, environmental degradation and population growth. New forms of 'community' management of environmental resources, which have been promoted by governments and aid donors over the last 10 years, may add to the exclusion of the poor.

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