Joint forest management [India]

approaches_2370 - India

Completeness: 83%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Varghese Paul

TERI, Habitat Place

Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110 003


SLM specialist:

Singh T.P.


TERI, Habitat Place

Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110 003, India

British Indian Ocean Territory

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Vashist Uma Shankar


TERI, Habitat Place

Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110 003


Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Book project: where the land is greener - Case Studies and Analysis of Soil and Water Conservation Initiatives Worldwide (where the land is greener)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Tata Energy Research Institute TERI (Tata Energy Research Institute TERI) - India

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

Forest catchment treatment

Forest catchment treatment [India]

Catchment treatment of degraded forest land including social fencing, infiltration trenches and enrichment planting with trees and grasses for production and dam protection.

  • Compiler: Chetan Kumar

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

Government and NGO supported community protection of forested catchments, through village-based Hill Resource Management Societies.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: Joint forest management (JFM) in India emerged in the 1980s from community initiatives in forest protection. At that time, less than half of the official forest land had good tree cover. Forest protection groups took action, based on 'social fencing' of degraded forest land. JFM was adopted by support agencies - NGOs and Government (State Forest Department) - when its full potential was realised. It is an approach that leads to environmental and production benefits through community co-operation in natural resource management. State-supported JFM in Haryana began on a pilot basis in Sukhomajri village in 1976, and has built on the success of that initiative, spreading to a total of nearly 200 km2, covering 60 villages in Ambala and Yamunagar Districts. The National Joint Forest Management Resolution of 1990 supported the rights of forest communities country-wide. In the same year, the Haryana State Government signed an agreement with The Energy and Resources Institute (formerly TERI: Tata Energy Research Institute) - underpinned by financial support from the Ford Foundation - to help establish Hill Resource Management Societies (HRMS). These state-sponsored, village level societies are key to the success of JFM, and their links to the State Forest Department are crucial.

Methods: The founding principles of HRMS include appropriate social composition, accountability and conflict resolution. They are open to all members of the village communities - regardless of gender or caste - who pay membership fees, and are then officially registered. Management committees are elected, and each must include at least two women. The HRMS oversee forest catchment management activities by villagers, arrange distribution of irrigation water (where applicable) and liase with the State Forest Department and TERI. Hill Resource Management Societies derive income from non-timber forest products - particularly from sales of bhabbar grass (used for rope making) - and from water use charges. This income is managed by the HRMS and used for village development and community welfare. The HRMS plan activities together with the State Forest Department. Under the guidance of the HRMS, communities provide labour (for physical works in the catchment etc), which is partly paid, implement social fencing and share the multiple benefits. Where there is a water harvesting dam all members have the right to claim an equal share of the water, irrespective of whether they have land to irrigate or not.

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:

Ambala amd Yamunanagar Districts

Further specification of location:

Haryana State

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The Approach focused mainly on other activities than SLM (Forest conservation/ Livelihood enhancement/ institution building)

- develop democratic and powerful Hill Resource Management Societies. - protect the forest land, by means of local participatory governance, and thereby improve the flow of forest products. - boost agricultural productivity through irrigation in village fields from dams in the protected catchments

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: - the main basic problem to be confronted was lack of control over the degradation of forest in the Shiwalik Hills which was leading to erosion and siltation of water bodies, and a lack of forest products/grazing. - there was no community organisation established to address these issues on land that was handed over to the village for management by the Forest Department. Clear felling for agriculture, increasing grazing pressure from large herds of cattle coupled with forest fires and reckless felling replaced the dense forests of Shiwaliks by bare hils with thorny bushes. The result was severe erosion on the hills (700T7ha/year) causing serious siltation in lakes/rivers and also affecting agricultural productivity, the primary source of livelihood of the area.

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
  • hindering

Lack of local institution for natural resource management.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Set up Hill Resource Management Societies.

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

Inadequate budget from Forest Department for implementation.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Water charges help to provide finance - but the State Government should assist more.

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • hindering

The existing land ownership, land use rights / water rights hindered a little the approach implementation Ownership rights affected the approach to a great extent and in a positive way: user rights to forest land are made available equally to all, to reduce potential conflict between unequal 'land owners'.

knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
  • hindering

Inadequate appreciation/understanding of integrated soil and water conservation/production approach within Forest Department.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Build awareness in Forest Department.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Forest dependent families, users of irrigated land

Hill Resource Management Society was formed. There were moderate differences due to social and cultural practices. Women are active in only a few Hill Resource Management Societies, but at least two women must be on each management committee. Although at least one woman from each household is a member of HRMS, presence of women in meetings is found very thin. However, there are few HRMS where women are active.Each family of a village is eligible to become the member of the HRMS irrespective of their caste or economic status. The Executive Committee, who is responsible for the day-to-day functioning also consists of representatives of each caste/hamlets and from landless families (if any in the village). All decisions are taken in the meeting in presence of minimum1/3 of the members.

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers
  • NGO

From 1990, TERI as facilitator. Ford foundation provided financial support to TERI from 1990

  • national government (planners, decision-makers)

Between 1976 and 1990. Haryana forest department, central soil and water conservation institute

If several stakeholders were involved, indicate lead agency:

The Haryana Forest Department and the Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute (CSWCRT) of Chandigarh in cooperation with people of Sukhomajri village designed the approach in the beginning. TERI, an NGO has played a role in replicating the approach in other areas (more detail in Annexure).

3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation interactive Mainly:public meetings; partly: rapid/participatory rural appraisal
planning interactive Mainly: rapid/participatory rural appraisal; partly: public meetings; Users have been involved in the preparation of 'Microplan' through PRA.
implementation interactive Mainly: responsibility for major steps; partly: casual labour; taking responsibility for organisation of casual labour Users have been providing 'social fencing' whereby they stopped taking livestock inside the forests and undertaken other regulatory measures for utilizing forests in a sustainable
monitoring/ evaluation interactive Mainly: public meetings; partly: interviews/questionnaires; Users participated in vegetation surveys with the forest dept. And TERI to monitor the forest regeneration status. In case of institutional and socio-economic monitoring users were involved in group discussions and as key informant's interv
Research interactive Land users have tried improved variety of seeds on the land. Provided information/judgement in social science research.

3.3 Flow chart (if available)


PCCF: Principal Chief Conservator of Forests CF: Conservator of Forests DFO: Divisional Forest Officer RFO: Range Forest Officer HRMS: Hill Resources Management Societies Dy. RO(s): Deputy Range Offic

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • mainly SLM specialists, following consultation with land users

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by mainly by SLM specialists with consultation of land users. Mainly made by SWC specialists with consultation of land users in the initial pilot scheme at Sukhomajri, but in other villages, later, land users have taken the lead role with SWC specialists' support.

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Specify who was trained:
  • land users
  • forest dept. Staff (2), politicians/decision makers (3)
Form of training:
  • public meetings
  • courses
Subjects covered:

Training given to land users by the Forest Dept in conjunction with TERI on water harvesting structures and their maintenance. There are also workshops and meetings to evolve and maintain water distribution system. Technical information about water harvesting structures and ist maintenance. Workshops and meetings were also held to evolve the distrinution system. A manual has been prepared by TERI

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields
Describe/ comments:

Name of method used for advisory service: Formal training to selected group/Group discussion; 1) Advisory service was carried out through: non-governmental agency, Staff of TERI 2) Target groups for extension: land users; Activities: maintenance of SWC structures/management of water distribution/record keeping/management of funds

Advisory service is inadequate to ensure the continuation of land conservation activities; Extension, through the Forest Department???s agents, covering forest management and irrigation is given to certain groups amongst the HRMS, but is not yet adequate. More is required from Government.

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • yes, greatly
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
  • local
Specify type of support:
  • capacity building/ training

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



bio-physical aspects were ad hoc monitored through measurements; indicators: change in vegetation

technical aspects were regular monitored through measurements; indicators: erosion status/siltation of water bodies

socio-cultural aspects were regular monitored through observations; indicators: level of participation

economic / production aspects were regular monitored through observations; indicators: change in income

area treated aspects were ad hoc monitored through observations

no. of land users involved aspects were regular monitored through observations

management of Approach aspects were regular monitored through observations

There were several changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: Internal reviews are carried out every one or two years: there have been several changes proposed and carried out as a result. These changes were in aspects of sharing water irrigation, and in methods of utilising income derived from forest products - especially bhabbar grass (Eulaliopsis binata).

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


Specify topics:
  • sociology
  • technology
Give further details and indicate who did the research:

Research is carried out by TERI, and covers various aspects (including both technical and social issues). Results are published in handbooks as well as having been compiled in 'The Decade and Beyond' (see references).

Research was carried out on-farm

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: government (national): 25.0%; international non-government (-): 50.0%; local community / land user(s) (-): 25.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • equipment
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
machinery fully financed bulldozers are used to construct dams etc
tools fully financed
  • infrastructure
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
Buildings fully financed
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • paid in cash

For establishment of dams and infrastructure, labour is rewarded (up to 95%) with cash wages. Over the last few years there have been some contributions from HRMS funds (derived from water user charges etc), which go towards maintenance work.

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

There has been a huge improvement in soil and water management - the forest canopy and its understorey have been restored with all associated benefits. Additionally, in fields below the forest area, levelling of land for irrigation reduces its vulnerability to erosion.

Did the Approach improve issues of land tenure/ user rights that hindered implementation of SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

As it is not in his own land, initially land owners did not own it. However, with time, they realised this helps them utilizing their lands in a far better way.

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

The original experiment in Sukhomajri has been replicated in 60 other villages within Ambala and Yamunagar Districts - and further afield in Haryana and India generally.

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

Land users can continue to maintain what infrastructure has been put in place (dams, irrigation pipelines etc) but technical guidance is required - and at least some budget from the Forestry Department. In terms of managing the forest resources itself, the existence of the HRMS should ensure that this will continue. However, land users might need technical guidance from specialist on maintenance.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Opportunity to earn more from livestock (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Better access to market, and thus value addition, needed.)
Opportunity to earn more from agriculture through irrigation (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Better access to improved seed and technology required.)
Equitable access to benefits (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: New rules and by-laws needed to sustain this.)
Integrated approach of natural resource regeneration (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Policy required for encouraging interdepartmental development activities.)
Emphasis on training and managerial capacity building (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Continue emphasis on/targeting of women.)
Cost-effective rehabilitation technologies (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Build more capacity amongst land users to implement and manage sustainably.)
Creation of strong people's self-help institutions the Hill Resource Management Societies (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Create more awareness among women.)
The creation and efficient operation of Hill Resource Management Societies (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Continued outside support for HRMS required.)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Sustainability of SWC is dependent on regular maintenance Increased budgetary allocation through Forest Department required.
Weak market linkage Strengthen market linkages for agricultural, livestock and forest products.
Moderate participation of women Build better awareness among women.
Lack of credit for investment in agriculture and business Popularise micro-credit concept under women???s self-help groups.
Lack of opportunity/knowledge for value addition to forest products Training programmes for micro-enterprise development are needed.
Average level of literacy Emphasis on literacy drive and continuous emphasis on cpacity building

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Singh TP and Varalakshmi V (1998) The decade and beyond: evolving community and state partnership. The Energy and Resources

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Varalakshmi V, Hegde ravi, Singh TP. Trends in institutional evolution at the grassroots - A case from the Joint Forest Management Programme, Haryana, India. International journal of sustainable development and world ecology, Sept. 1999

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Singh TP&Datta Sumana(2000) Institutional design for small irrigation system (a case study from JFM area in Haryana) presented in the all India seminar on Environmental and social issues in water resources Development on June 5&6,2000 in Lucknow,UP organized by the Institute of engi

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Datta s, Varalakshmi V. Decentralisation: an effective method of financial management at grassroots (evidence from India) in sustainable development. Vol7No3,August 1999. pp113-120

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