Everything about Community Forest Resource
Q. What is a Community Forest Resource?
- The Community Forest Resource (CFR) area is 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 boundaryof the village, and for seasonal use of landscape in the case of pastoralist communities.
- Each CFR area has a customary boundary with identifiable landmarks recognised by the communityand its neighbouring villages.
- It may include forest of any category – revenue forest, classified & unclassified forest, deemed forest, DLC (District Level Committee) land, reserve forest, protected forest, sanctuary and national parks etc.
Q. What are Community Forest Resource Rights?
- The Community Forest Resource rights under Section 3(1)(i) of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (commonly referred to as the Forest Rights Act) provides 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.
- 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.
- Once CFRR is recognised for a community, the ownership of the forest passes into the hands of the Gram Sabha instead of the forest department.
- Effectively, the Gram Sabha becomes the nodal body for management of the forests.
- These rights give authority to the Gram Sabha adopt local traditional practices of forest conservation and management within the community forest resource boundary.
- Chhattisgarh is only the second state to have recognised CFR rights inside a national park i.e., Kanger Ghati National Park.
- In 2016, the Odisha government was the first to recognise Community Forest Resources (CFRs) inside the Simlipal National Park.
Q. What is the Significance of CFR?
- 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 sustainability of forests and in conservation of biodiversity.
- It is of greater significance inside protected forests like national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reservesas traditional dwellers then become a part of management of the protected forests using their traditional wisdom.