GOVERNANCE OF FOREST RIGHTS IN PROTECTED AREAS IN INDIA: A CASE STUDY OF PARAMBIKULAM TIGER RESERVE
V. J., Jithin
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The forest dwelling scheduled tribes (ST) have faced several challenges in relation to the exercise of their traditional rights over the forest and its resources. The rights in relation to their forest habitat have not even recognised and they began to face threat in relation to eviction from the land, access to resources etc. The status of Protected Areas (PA) with the objective of species conservation has added up this vulnerability. To undo this historical injustice and to recognise their role in the protection of the forests, the parliament has enacted the Forest Rights Act (FRA) in 2006. The objectives of the present study were to study the framework of forest rights in PAs in India, analyse the governance of Forest Rights and its realisation in Parambikulam Tiger Reserve. The data was collected from different stakeholders through case study technique. The tools used were questionnaire and focus group interview. The data were analysed through percentage and represented in graphs. The study found that even after the enactment of Forest Rights Act, the recognition and endorsement of all kinds of forest rights particularly in Protected Areas as mandated under FRA, have limited progress. Other factors like participation and community involvement in the activities like eco-tourism have strengthened the source of livelihood and made significant advancement in reducing forest and wildlife crime. The major challenges in relation to the FRA implementation in the PA of Parambikulam is the lower rate of awareness of STs on forest rights including community forest rights and resources. The study revealed the v progress regarding individual land rights recognised under FRA but several associated issues relating to land title are not adequately addressed. The study also found that there is a further marginalisation in relation to the access to basic facilities to the forest dwelling tribes inside the core area of the PA. Though the recognition of certain rights and required facilities as envisioned by the FRA were in place but there is an absence of a mechanism to ensure adequacy and quality of the same. This can be done only through the shift in the bureaucratically driven PA governance regime to a community led conservation measures with an ensured mechanism on awareness of its objective and auditing on the practice.
- Law-Research Publications 
- PhD