Community forest rights and the pandemic: Gram Sabhas lead the way

With at least 6 million cases, India is currently among the world’s top three countries affected by COVID-19. The country’s forest-dwelling and Adivasi communities – already vulnerable and marginalized – have also suffered the pandemic’s economic ravages, facing extensive food insecurity and loss of livelihoods. These impacts have piled on a long list of injustices already facing these communities, given India’s history of exclusionary conservation and economic policies. Now, a new study is shining light on how some Adivasi and traditional forest dwellers have survived the COVID-19 crisis with little outside help. “Community Forest Rights and the Pandemic: Gram Sabhas Lead the Way,” has been published by a team of independent researchers from Community Forest Rights -Learning and Advocacy (CFR-LA) and Vikalp Sangam. The report features case studies from various regions of India to illustrate how recognition of rights to use and manage forests has made it possible for their inhabitants to overcome an unprecedented crisis.