Crafting the Inviolate Space: Ideologies, Rules and Resources in an Indian Tiger Reserve—A Study of Protected Area Governance

Dutt, Sugato
Wester, Lyndon
Geography and Environment
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2013]
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Following global traditions in conservation philosophy, which aim to separate man and nature, India's tiger reserves strive to (re-)create "pristine" nature in her timber-yielding forests by eliminating anthropogenic disturbances, occurring mainly through fuel wood removal and livestock grazing. Two opposing management approaches; one reliant on state power and manifest in coercive legal provisions against local use of biomass resource, the other exhorting community centered management and incentivizing alternative livelihoods, have been used to attain this objective in parks worldwide. The apparent lack of success in either strategy, especially in the managed exercise to attain an "inviolate space" for the tiger, provokes this dissertation research. Using Buxa Tiger Reserve as a case study, and sampling from a representative section of the local community, this study traces the changing local response to the management prescriptions accompanying the changing focus from timber management to the preservation of the tiger habitat and establishes how this historical pathway influenced the progressive reduction of access to natural, financial and social capital in the individual households The study probes the variation in local support towards the management prescriptions constraining resource, and establishes how the overall decline in wage labor opportunities increased household level dependence on biomass resources for cash income needs, and constrained individual capability to transition to alternative livelihoods compatible with conservation goals. It also establishes how management has especially lost the willing cooperation for resource protection, of the forest dwelling members of the local community, who were amply assisted by a variety of concessions and benefits as labor in the erstwhile timber industry. The findings of the field study are juxtaposed against existing literature on protected area governance. Acknowledging that the biological demands of the tiger obligates a strategy that contains local resource use, the study recommends policy decisions that delineate selective rights of access to forest resources in the local community, enable human capital for an easier transition to alternative livelihoods, promote greater legitimacy in their efforts to protect and sustain the resources of the reserve, and address gaps in the conventional protection strategy that has also eroded over time.
PhD University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 152–165).
wildlife conservation, common-pool resources, property rights, resource management, rural livelihoods, public policy, conservation, governance, India, inviolate space, property rights, protected areas, tiger reserve
xii, 165 leaves
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Geography.
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