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

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Behroonguda: A Rare Success Story in Joint Forest Management

Behroonguda is one of 77,000 hamlets and villages in Andhra Pradesh. The 97 families who belong to the Gond and Naikpod tribes formed themselves into a forest protection group in 1990, but the state government officially recognised their efforts in 1993. In 1998, five years after the recognition of the committee - referred to as Vana Samarakshana Samithi, or VSS - Behroonguda residents began to derive usufruct benefits from the forest. The case study documents the efforts of the villagers, the costs they have borne and the benefits they have derived from protecting 500 hectares of degraded forest allotted to them as part of the joint forest management (JFM) in Andhra Pradesh. The VSS is widely regarded as being successful. The paper analyses the reasons for the success of JFM and compares the experience of Behroonguda with other similar experiments in other countries to draw important lessons. The paper strikes one discordant note: The people of Behroonguda have not been clearly told when the forest department's financial and technical support would end. For JFM to be sustainable, it is important that forest staff be redeployed to other needy communities and the financial support to silvicultural and other conservation activities be discontinued. Only then will the Behroonguda experiment be deemed fully successful and sustainable.

Dishonoured by History, Branded by Law

Dishonoured by History: ‘Criminal Tribes’ and British Colonial Policy by Meena Radhakrishna; Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 2001; pp xiv+192, Rs 435. Branded by Law: Looking at India’s Denotified Tribes by Dilip D’Souza; Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2001; pp xxiv + 200, Rs 200.

Environment, Food Security and Natural Resources

The Tenth Plan Approach Paper has many interesting and progressive elements, but also many prescriptions that are likely to cause further destruction of the environment, food security, and people's natural resource-based livelihoods. There is no clear and coherent thrust towards integrating these concerns throughout the paper, within all sectors. Even at this late stage, it would be fruitful for the Planning Commission to set up a group of independent persons to consider ways of achieving such integration.

Orissa : Mining Bauxite, Maiming People

The bauxite rich Kashipur block of Orissa has long been a focus of some interest to major aluminium corporates. Its exploitation is now taking a sharp and ugly turn with the tribals fighting for their livelihood and homes and against the environmentally damaging industrial development being proposed and the state tacitly endorsing the development plans.
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