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Government of West Bengal
Directorate of Forests

Wildlife Wing

Conservation Reserves

Most Community Conserved Areas (CCAs), fall within the areas considered to be government controlled. In these areas communities have taken de facto control over the land and resources to regulate external and internal use and protect them from destruction. However.....

1) The Act does not specify what would happen to the recorded and unrecorded uses, rights and responsibilities of the conserving community if such an area were to be declared a conservation reserve?

2) If declared a conservation reserve, the Act does not recognize the local (traditional or new) customary institutions, rules and regulations that are being used by these communities for conservation. Instead, a uniform institutional structure composed of panchayat members, forest officials, etc. has been prescribed to advice the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW). This effectively means that the law disempowers the community to manage and conserve by vesting the controls out of their hands to the CWLW.

Conservation reserves may have an applicability in areas with biodiversity significance under various government departments' control, where there does not exist a community action on conservation. This could include some sites important as wildlife corridors, containing a high human population; it could also include irrigation, armed forces, railway, and other such lands where neither wildlife officials nor local communities currently have much say. In fact it does not provide a space for the panchayat bodies to be involved with the management of the PA, although, only in an advisory capacity. The category, however, has the following problems even in such cases:

1) It does not specify the process of declaration; will the consultation with the local communities mean informed consultation and consent, such that the entire community is involved and has the information to make the appropriate decisions?

2) It does not specify what happens to the existing rights and uses.3) Most importantly, it calls for participation from panchayats, rather than the village level gram sabhas or in the case of north east India the village councils or other traditional or local decision-making bodies.

Conservation Reserves in West Bengal:

Conservation Reserves Area in Ha. Notification No. & Date Bio-geographic Zone District
Deul 10.50 1555-For.dt.19.05.2017 7B Burdwan
Hijli 15.50 1555-For.dt.19.05.2017 6B Paschim Medinipur
Tekonia 5.87 1555-For.dt.19.05.2017 7B Coochbehar
Mukutmonipur 43.70 1555-For.dt.19.05.2017 6B Bankura
Garpanchkot 1340.34 1555-For.dt.19.05.2017 6B Purulia
Total 1415.91
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