Joint Forest Management

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The following from TERI's website on Joint Forest Management.

The increasing depletion of India's forest resources has brought into sharp focus the inherent inadequacy of traditional state-owned and -run systems of forest management in sustaining the forest resource base against the growing human and livestock population pressures, industrialisation, urbanization, and overall economic development. Apart from developmental pressures, the dependence of forest user groups is a crucial factor in the state of Indiaís forests. Forest conservation priorities cannot be determined in isolation from local people and broader patterns of natural resource use, and this must be complimented by policies promoting sustainable and equitable development of the natural resource base as a whole. In acknowledging this factor, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India issued policy guidelines for the involvement of village communities and voluntary agencies in the regeneration of degraded forest lands on 1 June 1990 under the JFM (joint forest management) programme.

Joint Forest Management is a concept of developing partnerships between fringe forest user groups and the FD (forest department) on the basis of mutual trust and jointly defined roles and responsibilities with regard to forest protection and development. Under the JFM programme, the user (local communities) and the owner (government) manage the resource and share the cost equally. The effective and meaningful involvement of local communities in evolving sustainable forest management systems is now being looked upon as a significant approach to address the longstanding problems of deforestation and land degradation in India. The linking of socio-economic incentives and forest development has been singularly instrumental in eliciting community participation. The institutional involvement in various forest protection and developmental activities has made promising impacts on the biophysical and socio-economic environment of the JFM areas. Currently, it is estimated that 10.24 million ha of forest lands are being managed under the JFM programme through 36,075 committees in 22 states. As a follow-up, the Government of India issued guidelines on 21 February 2000 for strengthening of the JFM programme.