The four sections of the report cover the importance of research for community forestry in India, specifically using PRA. A background is provided to forest management in India at the macroscale, and to increasing levels of participation. The steps to be undertaken in preparing for community forestry research are highlighted, emphasising secondary sources and the approach of the research team, and details of a rapid appraisal for community forest management are given. Issues identified as important are community characteristics, social and institutional structures, vegetative change, and forest product flows and economics. This breadth of information is considered necessary to document both current day situations and historical changes in the community and its forest resources. Community perceptions and values placed on the forest as well as levels of forest product use should be examined. Information on forest productivity levels and sustainability should also be collected. Finally, the way in which this new-found learning can be analysed, utilised and communicated is discussed. It is also important to involve all levels of forest department staff if forest management is to become participatory.
This guide may be of use to district and community level NGO and forestry staff in the South, as well as providing helpful information for donor agencies and researchers.
Joint Forest Management Support Programme, Society for the Promotion of Wastelands Development