Community-Based Natural Resource Management: Issues and Cases from South Asia

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Ajit Menon, Praveen Singh, Esha Shah, Sharachchandra Lélé, Suhas Paranjape & K. J. Joy

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    List of Tables

    • 1.1 Summary of Case Study Locations, Agro-ecological Conditions and Intervention Areas 25
    • 2.1 Cropping Intensity in Hivre Bazar 45
    • 3.1 The Number and Area of Operational Holders (in percentage) in the Districts of Saurashtra (non-SC/ST) 75
    • 3.2 Land Use Pattern: Bhavnagar District (1991) 76
    • 3.3 Land Use Pattern in Nathugadh 86
    • 3.4 Landholding Pattern in Nathugadh 87
    • 3.5 Estimated Crop Pattern in Nathugadh 87
    • 4.1 Water-harvesting Structures in Gopalpura 129
    • 4.2 Land Use Change in Gopalpura 133
    • 5.1 Pertinent Details of Villages in the Lingmuteychhu Watershed 164
    • 6.1 Main Features of the Study Villages in the Doodha Toli Area 210
    • 6.2 Demographic Details of the Study Villages in the Doodha Toli Area 212
    • 6.3 Land Use and Cropping Patterns in the Study Villages in the Doodha Toli Area 212
    • 7.1 Landholding Pattern in the SLRC Project Area 259
    • 7.2 Occupational Structure in the SLRC Project Area 260
    • 7.3 Basic Information on Villages Visited in the SLRC Project Area 261
    • 8.1 Differences in Normative Concerns Underpinning the CBNRM Initiatives 313
    • 8.2 Differences in Problem Perception and Notion of CBNRM 316

    List of Figures

    • 1.1 Location of the Six Case Studies 26
    • 2.1 Location of Hivre Bazar 33
    • 3.1 Location of Gogha Taluka 85
    • 4.1 Location of Gopalpura 119
    • 4.2 Gopalpura Village: Location of Water-harvesting Structures 128
    • 5.1 Location of the Lingmuteychhu Watershed 162
    • 5.2 Location of Villages and Canals in the Lingmuteychhu Watershed 163
    • 6.1 Location of the Study Sites in the Doodha Toli Area 198
    • 6.2 Location and Approximate Boundaries of Sample Villages and their Van Panchayats 209
    • 7.1 Location of the Jamuna–Brahmaputra Charlands 255

    List of Boxes

    • 2.1 An Equitable Arrangement of Water Sharing 50
    • 2.2 Employment Opportunities for the Landless 51
    • 2.3 Innovative Sharecropper 52
    • 5.1 Mithun Bull 176
    • 7.1 Powerless Union Members 251
    • 7.2 Even the Landed are Vulnerable 259
    • 7.3 New Leadership Emerging 265
    • 7.4 Group Leader Corners the Benefit 266
    • 7.5 Income Generation Through Nurseries 270

    List of Abbreviations

    AGYAdarsh Gaon Yojana
    ASAGAhmedabad Study Action Group
    BG-SRDPBhutan–German Sustainable Renewable Natural Resource Development Project
    BLPblock-level planning
    CBNRMcommunity-based natural resource management
    CCTscontinuous contour trenches
    CFMcommunity forest management
    CFMGscommunity forestry management groups
    CPRcommon property resource
    CWSSCommunity Water Supply and Sanitation Programme
    DFIDDepartment for International Development
    DPAPDrought Prone Areas Programme
    DTLVSDoodha Toli Lok Vikas Sansthan
    DYTDzongkhag Yargye Tshogchung
    EGSEmployment Guarantee Scheme
    FMISfarmer-managed irrigation systems
    FYMfarmyard manure
    GCGono Chetona
    GRWSSPGhogha Regional Water Supply and Sanitation Programme
    GSSGono Shahajjo Shangstha
    GWSSBGujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board
    GYTGeog Yargye Tshogchung
    HYVhigh-yielding variety
    IMTirrigation management transfer
    IWDPIntegrated Wasteland Development Programme
    JFMjoint forest management
    MMDmahila mangal dal
    NEMAPNational Environment Management Action Plan
    NRSPNational Rural Support Programme
    NWDPNational Watershed Development Programme
    NWDPRANational Watershed Development Programme for Rainfed Areas
    PAWDIPeople's Action for Watershed Development
    PIAproject implementation agency
    PIMparticipatory irrigation management
    PHWAper household watershed area
    PRAparticipatory rural appraisal
    RNRrenewable natural resource
    RRArapid rural appraisal
    RWSSPRural Water Supply and Sanitation Project
    SBSwanirwar Bangladesh
    SCScheduled Castes
    STScheduled Tribes
    SEMPSustainable Environment Management Plan
    SHGsself-help groups
    SLRCSustainable Livelihoods in Riverine Charlands
    TBSTarun Bharat Sangh
    TDHTerre Des Hommes
    VPvan panchayat
    YKGPVSYashwant Krishi Gram and Panlot Vikas Sanstha
    WAAwater augmentation activities
    WASMOWater and Sanitation Management Organisation

    Preface and Acknowledgements

    Undertaking this study on community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) in South Asia was for all of us an interesting and necessary challenge. Interesting because as researchers, it provided us an opportunity to visit and explore different regions of South Asia and observe CBNRM initiatives that had received a considerable amount of ‘good’ press. Necessary because so much has been made of the potential role of civil society and NGOs as a means towards a more decentralised, democratic and participatory form of development, yet so little attention has been paid to specific initiatives. Hence, we felt the need to take it upon ourselves to study some of these initiatives, hopefully with a more critical and analytical perspective.

    This book is the product of our endeavour, an endeavour that started with lengthy discussions as to how best to approach the study. Being a mix of researchers and activists, both individually and collectively, as well as having widely different academic backgrounds, the task at times was not an easy one, often being confronted by both ontological and epistemological differences. Yet, our heated discussions and often irreconcilable differences, helped us in the long-run produce what we hope is a better finished product. Our other hope is that the book will provide thick descriptive and analytical insights into the what, how and why of CBNRM in South Asia, based of course on our selected case studies.

    While the book is a collective product, we ventured into the field in groups of two to four people based primarily on our own interests.

    Chapter 2 on Hivre Bazar is authored by Ajit Menon, Praveen Singh, K.J. Joy and Suhas Paranjape; Chapter 3 on Utthan by Suhas Paranjape and Esha Shah; Chapter 4 on Tarun Bharat Singh by Esha Shah and Praveen Singh; Chapter 5 on the Lingmuteychhu Watershed in Bhutan by Ajit Menon and K.J. Joy; Chapter 6 on the Doodha Toli region by Sharachchandra Lélé and Praveen Singh; and Chapter 7 on the Bangladesh Charlands by Praveen Singh and Suhas Paranjape. The case study chapters are stand-alone chapters both in their descriptive and analytical content bound together by a common argument and frame of reference detailed in the introduction.

    The making of this book would not have been possible without the help of organisations and individuals who helped us in the course of our research. Gathering the literature on CBNRM was a lengthy and difficult task given the fact that much of it is unpublished, and hence we pestered a number of organisations in the course of that undertaking. In particular, we would like to mention Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development (SPWD); the Ford Foundation; International Development Reseach Centre, New Delhi; Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN); the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) or AKRSP (I); the International Conversation Union (IUCN), Bangladesh; International Water Management Institute, Colombo; Centre for Science and Environment (CSE); and CARE Nepal. We also requested and got help from many colleagues in India and other South Asian countries, including Atiq Rahman, Usman Iftikhar, Shekhar Pathak, Harnath Jagawat, Apoorva Oza, Amita Shah, Shilp Verma, Atiur Rahman, Mokhlesur Rahman, Shireen Kamal Sayeed, Philip Gain, Neelima Khaitan, Irfan Maqbool, S.P. Wani, Nandini Sundar, Madhu Sarin and C.M. Wijeratna. We requested Ajaya Dixit and Ram Kumar Sharma from Nepal, Mushtaq Gaadi from Pakistan and L.P. Dayananda from Sri Lanka to put together a review document for their respective countries.

    Local organisations, namely, Yashwant Krishi Gram and Watershed Development Trust in Hivre Bazar; Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) in Gopalpura; Renewable Natural Resource Research Centre (RNRRC), Bajo, Bhutan; Gono Chetona (GC) in Bangladesh; Utthan in Nathugarh; and Doodha Toli Lok Vikas Sansthan (DTLVS) in Uttarakhand, helped us immensely in the course of our fieldwork.

    In particular, we would like to thank Popatrao Pawar, Rajendra Singh, Sangay Duba, Aita Kumar Bhujel, Ira Rahman, Nafisa Barot and Sachchidanand Bharati, and of course the various staff and volunteers in these organisations. We would also like to acknowledge our debt to the different communities in all these locations who tolerated our intrusions and extended their hospitality generously.

    We organised a workshop in December 2005 to discuss the first draft of what was then a report. This workshop, attended by a total of about 45 persons from the case study organisations, and the practitioner, activist, donor, policymaker and academic communities, provided us with a rich set of comments and ideas that helped us revise the draft very substantially. We would like to thank all the participants in this workshop, and especially the discussants and session chairs who included, Sumi Krishna, Neelima Khaitan, Sara Ahmed, C.R. Bijoy, Sudarshan Iyengar, Amita Shah, Liz Fajber, R. Rajesh, Emmanuel Theophilus and others. Our colleagues at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development (CISED), especially Priya and Rinki, gave comments on the whole report or various chapters. Shrini generously lent material. Santosh patiently helped us make the maps, and with GIS related work. The support staff in CISED, most notably Anand and Ganesha, provided back-up support throughout the research project. We would also like to mention the help that the Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM), particularly Ravi Pomane, gave us during our study in Hivre Bazar.

    The conceptual and analytical framework of this book owes a lot to the intellectual contributions of other scholars, many of whom have undertaken similar scholarly forays. There are of course too many of them to mention but the work of Amita Baviskar, David Mosse, Sangita Kamat, Maxine Weisgrau, Tania Murray Li, Nandini Sundar, Roger Jeffery, Arun Agarwal, Norman Uphoff, Rajni Kothari, Anil Agarwal, Nirmal Sengupta and Anupam Mishra all helped shape the direction of our research.

    Finally, we would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by IDRC, which made this study possible, and would also like to thank Liz Fajber at IDRC, New Delhi for her constant support and encouragement.

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    About the Authors

    Ajit Menon is Associate Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies. He was formerly a Fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development (CISED), Bangalore. His research interests include the political economy of natural resource management, environmental politics and decentralised governance in India.

    Praveen Singh is Visiting Fellow at CISED. A historian, his area of interest is the history of flood control and agro-ecological change in the Indian floodplains during the colonial and post-independence period.

    Esha Shah is Research Fellow with the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She was formerly a Fellow at CISED. She has authored a book Social Designs: Tank Irrigation Technology and Agrarian Transformation in Karnataka. Esha is an environmental engineer turned social scientist whose main research interest involves anthropology and history of science and technology. Her recent research activities include politics of knowledge generation, risk and uncertainty of new and emerging technologies in developing societies, and history of the green revolution.

    Sharachchandra Lélé is Coordinator and Senior Fellow at CISED which he co-founded. He has held senior positions at the Pacific Institute of SIDES and Tata Energy Research Institute, and was a Bullard Fellow at Harvard University. He is also a founder-member of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics and has served on its Executive Committee. His work spans conceptual issues in sustainable development and sustainability, and institutional, economic, ecological and technological issues in forest, energy and water resource management.

    Suhas Paranjape is Visiting Fellow at CISED and Senior Fellow with the Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM), Pune. He is also founding member of the Lok Vidnyan Sanghatana. His interests cover the area of water, energy and biomass resources. He has co-authored a number of books in these areas: Sustainable Technology: Making the Sardar Sarovar Project Viable; Banking on Biomass: A New Strategy for Sustainable Prosperity Based on Renewable Energy and Dispersed Industrialisation; Watershed Based Development: A Source Book and the forthcoming Water Conflicts in India: A Million Revolts in the Making.

    K.J. Joy is Senior Fellow with SOPPECOM. An activist-researcher, Joy has been a Fullbright Scholar at University of California, Berkeley, and a Visiting Fellow at CISED. His research interests centre around people's institutions for natural resource management. He has co-authored a number of books on water, watershed and energy issues, including Sustainable Technology: Making the Sardar Sarovar Project Viable; Banking on Biomass: A New Strategy for Sustainable Prosperity Based on Renewable Energy and Dispersed Industrialisation; Watershed Based Development: A Source Book and the forthcoming Water Conflicts in India: A Million Revolts in the Making.


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