In Nayagarh, India, community women get long-due recognition for protecting their forests

In welcome news for India’s forest communities, the state of Odisha has approved 14 Community Rights and Community Forest Resource Rights titles for 24 villages in its Nayagarh district, under the country’s 2006 Forest Rights Act. The government’s move to grant these titles is praiseworthy for one key reason: they recognize women’s critical role in protecting community forests.

Referring to the estimates of Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) CSD says the actual potential forest land going to be recognized under FRA, 2006 would be more than 85.6 million acres (excluding five north-eastern states and J&K) and more than 200 million Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) in over 170,000 villages in the country are estimated to get IFR rights under FRA.

India’s Land Conflict Watch: Tracking Land Conflicts to Drive Rights Recognition

Given that India is the seventh largest country in the world with a population of 1.3 billion people, it is not surprising that land conflicts that affect more remote communities and Indigenous Peoples rarely gain national or international recognition. Land Conflict Watch tracks these cases in order to make them more visible and actionable for journalists, researchers, and policymakers.

Along the route from Mumbai’s international airport in Santa Cruz to the high-profile business district of Nariman Point, is a series of billboards featuring a significantly larger-than-life image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcoming investors to the third annual general meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Strengthen local forests for best climate solutions
Strengthen local forests for best climate solutions

In recent research that analysed contribution of local communities’ contribution to climate change mitigation by looking at carbon storage in collective lands, it was established that communities that claim and own their collective lands have so far sequestered at least 54,546 million tonnes of carbon equivalent — roughly four times the world’s annual emissions. The study, carried out by Rights and Resources Initiative, Woods Hole Research Centre and World Resources Institute, calls for recognition of the world’s indigenous and local communities in climate stabilisation and carbon sequestration.

Minor forest produce, major returns
Minor forest produce, major returns

A report of the Rights and Resources Initiative (2015) suggests that if the FRA is implemented properly, it could lead to the recognition of the rights of at least 150 million forest-dwelling people over 40 million hectares of forestland in more than 1,70,000 villages.

Tribal women lose food basket to commercial timber species: Study
Tribal women lose food basket to commercial timber species: Study

NEW DELHI: A new report on government’s plantation drives has found that most of the plantations are carried out on forest areas which are already supporting native trees and vegetation. These plantations are in fact replacing forest trees with commercial timber species such as teak, eucalyptus, bamboo and others. Moreover, the plantations are often encroaching on forest dwellers’ land in violation of the forest rights act which gives forest communities the right to use forest resources, to conserve and to live in forests.

Q&A: RRI Fellow Madhu Sarin on strengthening women’s land rights in India

RRI Fellow Madhu Sarin has been working on forest tenure reform in India for the last 15 years. In a conversation with RRI, Madhu shares her perspective on what it takes to strengthen women’s land and community forest rights in practice in India, how the country’s Forest Rights Act helped secure women’s land rights, and more.

New research shows the high cost of land disputes in India
New research shows the high cost of land disputes in India

While land-related conflict in India has long posed a threat to communities’ security and investment in sustainable development alike, relatively little research has attempted to…

Forest Rights Act: How rules fail in the jungle
Forest Rights Act: How rules fail in the jungle

Behold, my friends, the spring has come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of…

Centre, states undermining tribal rights
Centre, states undermining tribal rights

NEW DELHI—After tribal rights activists and opposition parties attacked the central government’s policies for not respecting tribal rights, it’s now the National Institution for Transforming…