Rights based approaches to forest landscape restoration: learning from the Indian forest policy experience

Dhanapal Govindarajulu, Rose Pritchard, A. Chhatre, Timothy Foster, Johan Oldekop

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Secure rights and tenure are considered essential components for socially just forest landscape restoration (FLR). Through a content analysis of India's forest policies, we identify enabling factors and challenges for rights based FLR. We discuss the practical implications of these enabling factors and barriers for FLR in India using evidence from the literature. We find that policies like the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and the Panchayat Extension of Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act support rights based FLR by providing communities with secure forest management rights and ownership of forest products. However, other policies, such as the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, can act antagonistically and weaken community rights in FLR. From our analysis, we draw three key lessons for rights based FLR in India and globally. First, there is a need to identify and resolve conflicts among forest policies that undermine rights and affect community participation in FLR. Second, policies must go beyond providing a potential for claiming rights and make claiming rights actionable in practice. Third, there is a need for a greater focus on promoting FLR mechanisms that allow communities to participate in FLR decision-making with their full set of recognised rights, including in the design of FLR activities that align with community preferences and needs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103073
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Early online date10 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Communities
  • Forest restoration
  • Forest rights
  • India
  • Policies


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