In the regions inhabited by the agro-pastoral communities, a significant portion falls under the revenue wasteland and grazing land categories. Even as these lands are the primary source of fodder, firewood and water for the local communities, they are faced with many threats. While the revenue lands are seen as open access resources leading to over-exploitation and illegal encroachment, the grazing lands under the custody of the Panchayat mostly suffer from the absence or breakdown of institutional arrangements that foster sustainable use and equitable access. In such a setting, we assist village institutions to get revenue lands leased, to strengthen institutional mechanisms, and to undertake eco-restoration activities so as to boost livestock production systems and improve availability of surface and sub-surface water.
In southern Rajasthan, in areas inhabited by tribal communities and where the predominant category is forestlands, we actively engage with the Forest Department to implement Joint Forest Management programmes to strengthen the protection and management regimes of these lands by building on customary patterns of access and use. We view the recently enacted Forest Rights Act, particularly its provision on community forest rights, as a stronger mechanism to increase community involvement in forest and biodiversity conservation. In view of the severity of the degradation, slow process of recovery of forests, and the high levels of poverty among the tribal communities, we assist in strengthening farm and off-farm livelihood opportunities.