The plight of tribals and other traditional forest dwellers is pitiable, as they continue to live without any rights over forest land or resources. Clearly this is undesirable. However, the newly enacted Forest Rights Act will help neither the traditional forest dwellers nor to conserve the forests, and might actually end up making both worse-off. Laws and policies related to nature and natural resources need to pass three tests in order to be considered progressive and effective. They need to promote equity, be scientific, and be implementable. The new Forest Rights Act fails all three tests. It also fails to include many other options available for addressing the injustices done to traditional forest dwellers while ensuring that conservation needs, and the rights of animals, are not trampled upon.
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Vol. 10 • No. 2