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VASUNDHARA - Democratising Natural Resources Governance

About Forest Rights Act :

The issue of community access and rights over natural resources has always been contentious in India. In the absence of clearly defined property rights, millions of forest dependent families living in or around forest land have been perceived as encroachers or illegal occupants. Not surprisingly therefore such areas have witnessed serious conflicts over land and forest rights.  

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 has come on the basis that the central factor affecting livelihoods and identity of the forest communities is their lack of access to and control over natural resources in many parts of the country.  

Forest Rights Act recognizes and vests forest rights in the scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded. It provides for a framework for recording of the forest rights so vested and the nature of evidence required for such recognition and vesting in respect of forest land.

Forest Rights Act is a means to address some of the pressing issues affecting livelihood and conservation. The Act aims to provide

  • Tennurial Security
  • Livelihood Security
  • Ecological Security

Forest Rights Act 2006 a) recognizes rights of STs/OTFDs, b) provides for a framework for recording of the rights c) protects rights till the process of recognition is complete and d) empower the rights holders to protect, conserve and manage their forest and resources.



The Forest Rights team works toward empowering local communities to assert greater access and rights over natural resources and entitlements, contributing to long-term control over their lives and livelihoods. We also focus on creating space for marginalised sections in decision-making, management of natural resources, and governance. We aims to build capacities in different areas like administrations, CSOs, Sangathans, institutions and other like minded groups who would be working with the communities and support them for getting their rights.


We work with multiple actors by building their capacities to support the local communities to extend support in recognition of their rights where we work as catalytic agent and process facilitator. We work could be divided into two parts as research and action. We work with communities to build our knowledge on various thematic areas of Forest Rights Act and subsequently transforming that knowledge to larger sphere through different approached like training, workshop, publication, technical support, sustained engagement etc with various stakeholders. We have gained rich knowledge from our ground level work with communities, CSOs, administration as well as groups with similar interest which helps us making strategies for networking and effective implementation. We work closely with the state and national level government by providing them the knowledge for better implementation.

Democracy, Equity, Social Justice and Ethical Development

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