Forest governance andimplementation of REDD+ in India
Dr J V Sharma and Priyanka Kohli
orest governance in context to REDD+ is a complex issue as it involvesthe participation o multiple stakeholders and also holds diversiedinterests o individuals and communities across dierent scales such aslocal, national, and global, with unbiased decision-making by a group o policymakers, community representatives, government ocials, and other expertsand practitioners. Good governance is a orm o political decision-making thatemphasizes legality (rules to resolve conficts), legitimacy (acceptance and trustby the public that ensure accountability), and participation (inclusiveness indecision-making process). The achievement o good governance is hinged onmutually supportive and cooperative relationships among dierent stakeholderssuch as the government, the private sector, and civil society.Forest governance is identied as critical to the success o REDD+.Implementation o robust REDD+ strategy is possible through CommunityBased Forest Governance. Historically, orest governance in India establishedtowards the middle o the 19
century was mainly engaged in exploration,demarcation, reservation, and exploitation o orests or timber. The orestdepartment, which was set up in 1864 under the Government o India withDietrich Brandis as its rst Inspector General o Forests, dealt with all mattersrelated to orests (Sarap 2004). Thereater, the Indian Forest Service wascreated in 1867 and Provincial Forest Service created in 1891 to provide linkbetween Indian Forest Service and subordinate executive service. Followingthis, scientic orest management began in 1871. Over time, the orestry sectorwas adversely aected, not only by a rapid increase in human and livestockpopulation, but also by inadequate investments and the transormation o orestland to non-orestry activities. Thereore, currently orests are natural resourceso local, national, and global concern. Globally, the major issues in the orestrysector are biodiversity conservation and enhancing carbon sequestration.Simultaneously, the key national issues are achieving biodiversity conservation,recognizing and maintaining the ecosystem services, and ensuring a sustainablesupply o orest products. Besides these, orests are under watch locally or thecollection o Minor Forest Produce, providing a livelihood to billions, and assacred grooves by indigenous communities. Other problems include inadequatepublic awareness o the ecosystem services o orests, undervaluation o orestcontributions to GDP, technological gaps, insucient unding, and lack o adequately trained “rontline” orest sta.Hence, the Forest Policy, which emerged in 1894, was implementedto manage state orests or public benet. Certain regulations o rights andrestrictions o privilege ensured the use o orests by neighbouring populationand not only or commercial purposes. In 1921, the responsibility o orest
Forest governance isidentified as critical tothe success of REDD+.Implementation of robust REDD+ strategy is possible throughCommunity BasedForest Governance.