Generated by an interplay of natural cycles and operating across a wide range of space and time scales, natural ecosystems perform fundamental life support functions with out which human civilisations would cease to thrive. Worth a few trillion dollars annually ecosystem functions purify air and water, regulate climate, regenerate soil fertility, maintain biodiversity and even decompose waste. Ecosystems are the life support of the planet and the very foundation of the global economy.
Many of the human activities that modify or destroy natural ecosystems cause deterioration of ecological services whose value, in the long run, far outweigh the short term economic benefits that human society seeks to gain. As ecosystems remain at great jeopardy so do the livelihoods and continued well being of communities everywhere. Poor communities are particularly vulnerable since they rely more on natural resources for subsistence and income and are less likely to share in property rights that give them legal control over these resources.
In this context, we promote the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, forests and water in particular, through local self governance institutions.The crux of our efforts lie in locating forests and other natural resources within the prevailing economic, social and ecological demands at the level of villages and village conglomerates and in intertwining principles of conservation and local self governance for the safeguard of the natural surroundings and improvement in the living conditions of the poor.
We aim to integrate forests in the overall land use planning by highlighting the critical role that forests play in terms of sustaining agriculture, animal husbandry and rural livelihoods in general, and also position community based forest governance in the larger unfolding of decentralisation of governance in India.
By working on systemic issues that can bring about a multiplier change we try to bring in a gestalt that establishes inter-linkages between ecological, social and economic realities. We strive for a future where the local communities and their conglomerates determine and move towards desirable land-use that is based on principles of conservation and social justice. A future where the value of forests is tangibly appreciated in the daily lives of the people, particularly the rural poor, and where policy and practice meet somewhere in between.