Across India, communities have been protecting their forests against mafias, land grabbers, estates, companies and the Forest Department. The most famous example, but hardly the only one, was the Chipko movement. Until now, community protection was illegal and, if it went against the Forest Department’s wishes, a crime. Now, the tide is turning.
With the passage of the Forest Rights Act, community forest management for the first time has legal protection. Across the country, thousands of villages have mobilised to try to use this legal space to assert control over their resources. But the State and Central governments have responded with ever more sabotage and repression to ensure that these provisions are not implemented. The fight for community forest control is now the central thrust of the work of the Campaign.
For more details, see our background note on the issue.