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R K Panda and C R Das

The IUP Journal of Governance and Public Policy, 2009, vol. IV, issue 1, 22-34

Abstract: A large number of people living in and around forest areas depend heavily on forests for their livelihood. It is estimated that 60 million people living in the rain forests of Latin America, South-East Asia and West Africa depend heavily on forests; 350 million people living in or around the dense forests depend on them for sustenance or income; and 1.2 billion people in the developing countries use trees to generate food and income. Forests and trees can help to eliminate poverty and promote food security. India has approximately 7% of the total mangrove forests in the world. It is estimated that 92.47% of the recorded forest area in India is owned by the forest departments. Shifting cultivation, encroachments on forest lands, grazing and forest fires are the key factors leading to the depletion of forest resources in India. The development of the Joint Forest Management (JFM) programme in India is based on the National Forest Policy (NFP) of 1988, which emphasised the involvement of the village communities living close to the forests in the protection and development of forests and degraded forest land. Orissa is one among the major states to implement the JFM programme and till date more than 7,000 Vana Suraksha Samitis (VSSs) have been formed in different forest circles in Orissa. In this regard, the present study analyses the socioeconomic and environmental changes in the JFM areas of Orissa on the basis of a number of selected indicators. The performance of the selected indicators is outlined on the basis of primary data obtained from the people in the selected VSS areas with the help of Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA). Considering that there is tremendous scope for sustainable rural development of the forest fringe households through the JFM programme, the study recommends that all types of constraints associated with such type of governance should be removed.

Date: 2009
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