Moving towards Community Governance of Forests

On 29th November 2021, representatives from 28 villages from Chhota Bhangal met in Multhan (Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh) to constitute a federation to consolidate their recent gains in acquiring CFR titles over local forests.

The Chhota Bhangal Maha Gram Sabha, as the federation was named, passed four important resolutions for sustainable forest management in the valley. The 28 villages now collectively own 35272 hectares of forests in the valley. These forests are a source of several valuable Seasonal Forest Products, most notably Guchhi (Morcella esculenta) and several herbal medical plants found in the alpine pastures more than 13,000 feet above mean sea level.

At the meeting, representatives collectively committed to establish CFR Management Committees in each village, prepare a management plan for each forest with clear rules regarding sustainable extraction of Seasonal Forest Products, and maintain a formal record of the quantity of Seasonal Forest Products harvested for sale and self-consumption. An Executive Committee comprising of representatives from each village was constituted at the meeting in Multhan. The committee will meet once a month to evaluate progress, ensure follow-up on decisions, and liaison with respective state departments for smooth operations.

The federation is preparing to aggregate Seasonal Forest Products and set up processes for value addition at the local level. Kisan Sabha, a Civil Society Organization in Himachal Pradesh, is working closely with the Executive Committee to realise the economic potential of the CFR titles.

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