Defragmenting Nature

Ullas Karanth Announcements, Articles Leave a Comment

THE three proclaimed goals of the proposed law, ‘Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill’ (or Forests Rights Act FRA) – the bill hereafter – are:

  1. To redress past social injustices perpetrated against forest dwelling tribal people, to improve their socio-economic conditions, and
  2. To protect India’s natural biodiversity under a new conservation paradigm rooted in the traditional ecological wisdom of the tribal people. No one can disagree with these objectives expressed by activists who genuinely champion adivasi causes. However, the
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India’s Conservation Challenges

Shekar Dattatri Announcements, Articles, Featured Article, The Ready Reckoner, Toolkit 2 Comments

Wildlife conservation at crossroads

An interview with Dr. K. Ullas Karanth

Dr Ullas Karanth, a Senior Scientist with the international NGO, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), is a world-renowned wildlife biologist.  In a wide-ranging interview with wildlife and conservation filmmaker, Shekar Dattatri, he outlines the basic problems that beset wildlife conservation in India’s human dominated landscape, and shares his views on preserving these last wild places.

(This is an updated version of an interview that was first published under the title Read More

NTFP Collection and its Impact on Forests in the BR Hills, Karnataka

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Although the collection of NTFPs (Non-Timber Forest Products) is an age-old practice in India and many other parts of the world, there is little concrete knowledge about the sustainability of long-term, intensive extraction of forest fruits, roots, shoots, bark, resins and other products, and what ecological changes follow the commercialization of an NTFP. Such information is required – by foresters, conservationists and local people – to understand the ways in which wild resources are being manipulated, the subsequent ecological impacts, Read More

Forest Rights Act Being Denied to Dwellers in North Bengal

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There is criticism over the way the Forest Rights Act is being denied to the residents of around 230 North Bengal forest villages. The National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW) has been active in campaigning against the violation of rights and its members have faced a backlash from the government and forest department. Assertion of rights has also hit resistance, for instance in Andu Village, where the Forest Department stealthily cut down 800 sal trees that the … Read More

Whose Forest Is It Anyway?

Praveen Bhargav Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

The Saxena Committee’s recipe for redressing historic injustices to forest dwellers will precipitate an ecological crisis write Praveen Bhargav and Shekar Dattatri.

While there has been a huge uproar over the auctioning of the 2G spectrum at throwaway prices to private corporations, a far more valuable asset of the nation, biodiversity, is to be handed over to thousands of Grama Sabhas for virtually unregulated and limitless exploitation. This is one of the key recommendations of the Saxena Committee, which was … Read More

Bamboo declared a Minor Forest Produce

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In a letter to the Chief Ministers of all states, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh has asked that the Forest Departments be directed to treat Bamboo as a Minor Forest Produce as per the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006. This directive gives Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest dwellers the right to own, access to collect and dispose of Bamboo. The forest departments have been refusing control in the past, as the Indian Forest Act, treats … Read More

Some Insights into the Forests Rights Act (FRA)

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Preamble

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA) was enacted to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded.

Praveen Bhargav, Managing Trustee, Wildlife First, opines that the FRA has several fundamental flaws, and takes you through four critical aspects that not only Read More

Centre rejects Vedanta’s Niyamgiri mining proposal

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NEW DELHI: The Union environment and forests ministry on Tuesday rejected the clearance for Orissa Mining Corporation to mine Niyamgiri hills for Vedanta’s aluminium refinery in Lanjigarh. The rejection is the most drastic of the measures taken by the government, which has generated the impression that noose could be tigthening around Anil Agarwal’s $1.7 billion operations in Orissa. The MoEF has decided to slap a showcause notice on the aluminium czar, asking why his refinery unit should not be denied … Read More

The Myth of Harmonious Co-existence

Shekar Dattatri Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

This article appended below was published as a lead Op Ed in The Hindu, India’s National Newspaper, on August 13, 2005, and is also available online. It was written specifically to contest the views in a new bill that was being debated in the Indian Parliament, giving ‘forest dwellers’ permanent land rights within India’s tiny and shrinking forest areas, including National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves. The lobbies fighting for this bill, which is now a full fledged Act Read More