Common Property Forest Resources and Participatory Management: Issues in Heterogeneity and Sustainability
Keywords:Common Property Forest Resources, Management Sustainability, Resource Sustainability, Socio-Economic Heterogeneity, Participatory Management.
Common property forests are a major source of income and livelihood for the local population and more so for those at the lower socio-economic echelons. However, unequal benefit sharing, inappropriate governance institutions and undesirable resource extraction practices have made both the institutions of management and the resource system highly unsustainable so much so that the sustainability issue has become a cause of concern in policymaking and academic circles. This paper analyses sustainability of common pool forest management institutions and the forest resources on the basis of both quantitative data and qualitative information collected from a sample survey of 210 households in six villages of three districts under the two major agro-climatic zones of Odisha state. The results indicate strong interactions between socio-economic heterogeneity and sustainability and point to the need for designing institutional mechanisms based on socio-economic equity for promoting robust governance and management and enhancing the longevity of forest resource systems. Provision of offforest employment-income opportunities, creating awareness among the people and members of management institutions and effective coordination of initiatives at the national, sub-national and local levels by involving indigenous people, NGOs and civil society can help achieve the goal.
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