Institute for Social and Economic Change

Established in 1972 by Professor V K R V Rao, ISEC is an All-India Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Training in the Social Sciences

Livelihoods, Conservation and Forest Rights Act in a National Park: An Oxymoron? – isec

Livelihoods, Conservation and Forest Rights Act in a National Park: An Oxymoron?

Abstract

National Parks in India are highly vulnerable due to excessive pressure on their ecosystems as a result of growing population and high dependency of forest dwellers on these resources. This has led to many conflicts across stakeholders. To address these conflicts, the State has enacted laws and regulations in favour of the local communities (Forest Rights Act (FRA)). However, the purpose of National Park and the FRA seems to be oxymoronic as they both tend to contradict each other. Keeping this in perspective, we have selected Bhitharkanika National Park (BNP) in Odisha as a case study and reviewed its policy objectives, Acts and Rules in operation, livelihood systems of local communities and their dependence on Bhitharkanika ecosystem, and the role of different stakeholders and their claims by conducting a household survey of 165 household in four villages in BNP. The paper suggests certain measures to reduce the conflicts across conservation, livelihoods and forest rights.

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