[Answered] What are Community Forest Resource rights? Highlight the significance of the recognition of CFR rights.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain Community Forest Resource rights. Also write the significance of the recognition of CFR rights.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The community forest resource area is the common forest land that has been traditionally protected for sustainable use by a particular community. The community uses it to access resources available within the traditional and customary boundary of the village. It may include forest of any category-revenue forest, classified & unclassified forest, deemed forest, reserve forest, protected forest, sanctuary and national parks etc.

Community Forest Resource rights:

  • The Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights under Section 3(1)(i) of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Forest Rights Act, FRA) provide for recognition of the right to “protect, regenerate or conserve or manage” the community forest resource.
  • These rights allow the community to formulate rules for forest use by itself and others and thereby discharge its responsibilities under Section 5 of the FRA.
  • CFR rights, along with Community Rights (CRs) under Sections 3(1)(b) and 3(1)(c), which include rights over non-timber forest products, ensure sustainable livelihoods of the community.
  • These rights give the authority to the Gram Sabha to adopt local traditional practices of forest conservation and management within the community forest resource boundary.

Why is the recognition of CFR rights important?

  • It aims at undoing the “historic injustice” done to forest-dependent communities due to curtailment of their customary rights over forests.
  • It is important as it recognises the community’s right to use, manage and conserve forest resources and to legally hold forest land that these communities have used for cultivation and residence.
  • It also underlines the integral role that forest dwellers play in sustainability of forests and in conservation of biodiversity.
  • It is of greater significance inside protected forests like national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves as traditional dwellers then become a part of management of the protected forests using their traditional wisdom.

CFR rights are an important empowerment tool for the environment protection as well as sustainable development. Thus, it is important to develop a detailed strategy of training and capacity building of people responsible for implementing the FRA, such as Panchayats, Gram Sabha, village level Forest Rights committee etc.

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