Potential for recognition of Community Forest Resource Rights under India’s Forest Rights Act

The implementation of Community Forest (CF) rights and Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights under the Forest Rights Act 2006 (FRA) can transform forest governance and rural livelihoods in India. The recognition of CF/CFR Rights under the FRA provides the Indian state with a historic opportunity to implement the largest land reform ever in India. Through the FRA, at least 150 million forest dwelling people have gained the opportunity to have their rights recognized over a minimum of 40 million hectares (mha) of forest land that they have been managing, using, and interacting with in more than 170,000 villages. This study makes a preliminary assessment of the potential area over which CFR rights can be recognized in India under the FRA. The estimate provided offers a baseline for planning and effective implementation of CFR rights recognition under the FRA, and allows policy makers and forest-dependent communities to assess the extent to which the law has been implemented.