Protecting India's Forests: The Effectiveness of Forest Protection Committees - The Case of Southern West Bengal, India
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT & WORLD ECOLOGY, Volume 12, Number 1, March 2005, ISSN: 1350 - 4509 pp. 68-77
27 Pages Posted: 14 May 2013
Date Written: March 2005
Forest Protection Committees (FPCs) form the core of Joint Forest Management in the open access forests of West Bengal, India, and have proliferated enormously during the 1980s. However, their impact in terms of forest regeneration has been marginal. It thus appears necessary to take a good look at how FPCs function, how effective they are and how they can work better. With this objective in mind, we have collected data over a cross section of 20 per cent of the FPCs in two districts of Southern West Bengal, representing different levels of functioning (good, moderate and bad). We have regressed forest status (measured with the help of ecological tools) against two sets of variables – socio-economic aspects and operational features of the FPC. The results, among other things, indicate the significance of three factors – benefits from the sale or use of non-timber forest products, the frequency of and attendance in FPC meetings and finally, the capacity of the FPC to resolve internal conflicts. The regression exercise, other statistical exercises and a close look at other non-cardinal aspects of the way an FPC functions lead us to a set of policy prescriptions.
Keywords: Joint Forest Management, Forest Protection Committee, Non-Timber Forest Produce, Incentives, Policy
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