A Weapon of Democracy in the Forests
Across India's forest areas, people are fighting for democracy, livelihood and dignity. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, is one instrument in that struggle.
What is the Forest Rights Act about?
Millions of people live in and near India's forest lands, but have no legal right to their homes, lands or livelihoods. A few government officials have all power over forests and forest dwellers. The result? Both forests and people die. This Act recognises forest dwellers' rights and makes conservation more accountable.
How Should We Govern Our Forests?
Across the country, thousands of communities are protecting their local forests and wildlife, often in the teeth of opposition from the Forest Department. The government, meanwhile, is using its total control over forests to hand over more and more resources to large projects and private companies.
Do Forest Rights Threaten Wildlife Conservation?
Recognition of forest rights - and, more importantly, making conservation democratic - is the only way forward. The more power the forest bureaucracy retains, the more it will harm both wildlife and people.