SDRP Journal of Earth Sciences & Environmental Studies

The Van Panchayat Movement and Struggle for Achieving Sustainable Management of the Forest : A Case Study of Uttarakhand in North India


Kazuyo NAGAHAMA, Van (Forest) Panchayat as a System of Sustainable Common Forest Resource Management in India(2016)SDRP Journal of Earth Sciences & Environmental Studies 1(3)


During the nineteenth century, the British colonial forestry and the denial of customary rights of people, led to conflict between the imperial forest department and local society. This study analyzes such a conflict in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. It shows how this conflict led to the origin of Van Panchayats, which eventually evolved into community based forest management (CBFM) in 1932. The end of British Empire and the emergence of independent India in 1947 began a new era that gave birth the system of joint forest management (JFM) in early 1990s. However, people’s movement for the restoration customary rights continued. In 2006, the Indian parliament passed the Forest Rights Act, which fully restored people\'s sovereign right, independent of either the state or Forest Department interference. Nevertheless, struggle for the full empowerment of local village over their surrounding forest is on going.

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