From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights
Mains level : Read the attached story
The Chhattisgarh government has become the only second state in the country to recognize the Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights of a village inside a national park.
What is the news?
- The CFR rights of tribals living in a hamlet inside the Kanger Ghati National Park in Bastar district, were recognised.
- It gave the community the power to formulate rules for forest use.
Try this PYQ first:
Q.Under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, who shall be the authority to initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of individual or community forest rights or both?
(a) State Forest Department
(b) District Collector/Deputy Commissioner
(c) Tahsildar/Block Development Officer/Mandal Revenue Officer
(d) Gram Sabha
Post your answers here.
What is a Community Forest?
- The community forest resource area is the common forest land that has been traditionally protected and conserved for sustainable use by a particular community.
- The community uses it to access resources available within the traditional and customary boundary of the village; and for seasonal use of landscape in case of pastoralist communities.
- Each CFR area has a customary boundary with identifiable landmarks recognised by the community and its neighboring villages.
- It may include forest of any category – revenue forest, classified & unclassified forest, deemed forest, DLC land, reserve forest, protected forest, sanctuary and national parks etc.
Legal basis for Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights
- The CFR rights are acknowledged under the Section 3(1) (i) of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act.
- This is commonly referred to as the Forest Rights Act or the FRA.
- It aims to provide for recognition of the right to “protect, regenerate or conserve or manage” the community forest resource.
- These rights allow the community to formulate rules for forest use by itself and others and thereby discharge its responsibilities under Section 5 of the FRA.
Nature of rights included
- CFR rights, along with Community Rights (CRs) under Sections 3(1)(b) and 3(1)(c), which include: nistar rights and rights over non-timber forest products, ensure sustainable livelihoods of the community.
- ‘Nistar’ means the concession granted for removal from forest coupes (small trees) on payment at stipulated rates, specified forest produce for bonafide domestic use, but not for barter or sale.
- These rights give the authority to the Gram Sabha to adopt local traditional practices of forest conservation and management within the community forest resource boundary.
Why is the recognition of CFR rights important?
- Aimed at undoing the “historic injustice” meted out to forest-dependent communities due to curtailment of their customary rights over forests, the FRA came into force in 2008.
- It is important as it recognises the community’s right to use, manage and conserve forest resources, and to legally hold forest land that these communities have used for cultivation and residence.
- It also underlines the integral role that forest dwellers play in the sustainability of forests and in the conservation of biodiversity.
- It is of greater significance inside protected forests like national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves as traditional dwellers then become a part of management of the protected forests.
How many CFR certificates have been given in Chhattisgarh?
- According to state government officials, Chhattisgarh has recognised nearly 4,000 CFR rights in the state.
- Kanger Ghati National Park is the second national park, after Simlipal in Odisha, where CFR rights have been recognised.
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