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The Forest Rights Act 2006 in protected areas of Odisha, India: contextualizing the conflict between conservation and livelihood

Tapas Kumar Sarangi

Keywords: conservation; forest; livelihoods; protected areas; rights; tribals

In protected areas, natural resources support the livelihood needs of local communities, but human activity affects wildlife survival and biodiversity conservation, and leads to serious conflict between conservation and livelihood. India has some of the best environmental and human rights legislation, but implementation is very often poor at the ground level. In India, the recently enacted Forest Rights Act 2006 (the FRA) has been in effect since 2008. This Act recognises the basic livelihood rights of forest dwellers, but its implementation is besieged by several problems at various institutional levels. With special reference to the FRA in protected areas in Odisha, this article discusses the conflict between conservation effort and livelihoods of the local populace, while suggesting ways to strengthen livelihoods. The proper implementation of the FRA not only provides stable property rights on forest land but enforces the entitlement of forest dwellers to various forest produce. This entitlement may operate to reduce the conflict between conservation and livelihoods inside the protected areas.

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