This talk looks at the changing nature of the relationship between indigenous communities and forests during the twentieth century in response to changes in the structure of laws. The Indian Forests Act (1927) sought to nationalize and regulate forests, rendering most indigenous communities to be classified as encroachers. This adversely affected the economic development of indigenous communities. The Forests Rights Act (2005) sought to right what it referred to as the “historical injustice” to indigenous communities by recognizing a spectrum of rights. However, the implementation of the act has raised several new issues. This paper examines the complex relationship between the supposedly empowering act , conservation and the economic well-being of indigenous communities.
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