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Tigers, Tribes, and Bureaucrats: the voluntariness and socioeconomic consequences of village relocations from Melghat Tiger Reserve, India

Sekar, Nitin (2016) Tigers, Tribes, and Bureaucrats: the voluntariness and socioeconomic consequences of village relocations from Melghat Tiger Reserve, India. In: REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE, 16 (1). pp. 111-123.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10113-015-0913-z

Abstract

Relocations of indigenous peoples from protected areas to promote wildlife conservation have typically resulted in negative socioeconomic results for those displaced. The international indigenous peoples' movement has begun to coalesce around the use of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) as a legal mechanism to prevent disadvantageous relocations. In 2006, India's parliament passed the Forest Rights Act, which requires any village relocation of tribal people be conditional upon their FPIC. I used household surveys and qualitative interviews of relocated and forest (not-yet relocated) villagers from Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra, to examine (a) the extent to which putatively voluntary relocations were conditional upon FPIC and (b) how such relocations affect socioeconomic metrics and overall quality of life for those relocated. I found that while consent to relocate was mostly free, consent was not fully informed across the villages examined. The socioeconomic results indicate that relocated villagers make a trade-off, leaving a familiar, healthier environment for better access to modern services and employment. Finally, I found that forest villagers in favor of relocation emphasized how the social and economic costs of remaining in the forest had become greater due to the relocation of neighboring villages. This field study suggests that strong implementation of FPIC and state responsiveness post-relocation are both necessary to safeguard forest-dwelling people from disadvantageous relocations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the SPRINGER HEIDELBERG, TIERGARTENSTRASSE 17, D-69121 HEIDELBERG, GERMANY
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2016 07:20
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2016 07:20
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/54949

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