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Dr. Smita Mishra Panda Professor HDF School of Management. Current Gender Issues in Forest Management: Insights from Odisha. Outline of presentation. Gender and forestry concerns Community forest management – gender connections Forest policies and gender equity Challenges and some pathways.
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Dr. Smita Mishra Panda Professor HDF School of Management Current Gender Issues in Forest Management: Insights from Odisha
Outline of presentation • Gender and forestry concerns • Community forest management – gender connections • Forest policies and gender equity • Challenges and some pathways
Gender and Forestry Concerns • Interface between gender and forestry in India - literature • Gender based division of labour and resource provision – derived from common pool forest resources • Gender differences – collection of forest produce • Women and NTFP – Kendu leaves, Broom grass and others – 300 million woman days of work – 1.8 million women engaged in this work • Women collect food items from the forest during the lean season of year when they do not have access to food grains
Community Forest Management • Odisha – 10,000 CFM groups as opposed to JFM which has 12,000 groups • Although women are active in protection of forests – role not recognised at the community level – not present in decision making • Few examples – Mahila Samiti in Baghamunda village (Deogarh), Maa Maninag Surakhya Parishad in Nayagarh (promoted by Vasundhara) – women created their own space and claimed citizenship rights
CFM and Women • Boudh district – 7 villages, Nayagarh – 1 village, Rayagada – 1 village, Deogarh – 2 villages • OJM (federation) – 12,000 CFM groups (24 district forums) • Core functions – fees, pressure group, Thengapalli, conflict resolution and benefit sharing • Despite being effective and politically active and pro-people, it cannot be assumed to be gender sensitive
Forest Policies • JFM – 33% reservation for women in the management committee, now increased to 50% in some cases – mixed results • NTFP – after the Gram panchayats have been vested with powers to regulate the purchase, procurement and trade so that women get a fair price • FRA 2006 – individual and community rights over forest lands
Gender and Forest Policies • So far 2,87993 individual claims covering 4,96,264 acres have been approved – registered in the names of both women and men • Community claims – 865 only covering 69,411.56 acres – although 2,845 claims were made • Women would benefit immensely from community rights to forests - given less importance • In many cases – titles are given but the land is not demarcated, typically less land is approved than what they were cultivating in the forests
Gender and Forest Policies • Certain lands, - Dongar, swidden lands are not recognised for individual or community claims • Swiddens – 13 tribal groups practice • 2-3 months of food – millets and others – health security • Socio-cultural and religious activities closely interwoven into different stages of their cultivation cycle • Women's contribution to SC is 50% more than men – the hoe or the digging stick is used only by women
Gender and Forest Policies • JFM, FRA, PESA and NTFP – all meant to provide autonomy and facilitate in livelihood development of forest dwelling communities/tribals • Large tracts of land diverted in tribal areas for mining and industrialisation • Several examples of how tribal women have protested against extraction based industrialisation • Denial of community claims is a direct attack on women's livelihood aspirations
Challenges and Pathways • How to facilitate community rights for tribal women? • Engendering FRA – 50% women in GS, FRC, SDLC, DLC responsible for recommending claims for both individual and community rights • Strategic alliances with SHGs or other women's groups • Half the space in forest management – will affect decisions in livelihood security and forest conservation
Pathways • Recognising swidden lands on the lower slopes of the hills and also some forest lands where cultivation is done • Respecting customary laws on community forest lands – allowing them to make claims