Tuesday, September 4

Making resettlement work: The case of India’s Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Almost every time you hear about re-settlement, you know its a compete cockup. That single reason is why any initiatives around nature reserves, large dams, mining etc. goes all cock-eyed. So all the various activists, revolutionaries and the like start banging drums and foaming at the incompetence and idiocy of the various governments.

So it is with quite a lot of surprise that I read about this paper which talked about how re-settlements can be done properly. Very interesting reading, but the crucial aspects were open communications, good local government, less corruption, transparency in the process/finances/governance, etc. But if you manage to do that, then it works. Good paper as well.

Krithi K. Karanth,
Making resettlement work: The case of India's Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary,
Biological Conservation,
In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 4 September 2007, .


The relocation and resettlement of people from nature reserves is a controversial issue in the conservation community. The perceived poor success rate of resettlement efforts, combined with availability of few well-documented studies, warrants a detailed examination of this issue. I have analyzed a relocation and resettlement project in India’s Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. I examine the relocation experience of 419 households who moved to two villages located outside the reserve. I interviewed 61% of relocated households in 2002 and 55% relocated households in 2006. In 2002, 71% of households were satisfied with the relocation effort and their quality of life. In 2006, 52% of households were satisfied with their quality of life. Four years after relocation, all households have access to electricity, water, schools, health care, transportation, and communication facilities. Many households have increased their income and assets. Yet, there were differences between the two different-resettlement villages, with one of them faring better in terms of economics, hardships, and uncertainty. This paper draws out insights important for improving conservation practices related to resettlement efforts. It documents short to mid-term successes and challenges that affect the communities involved. I submit that in specific contexts, relocation may be a viable conservation tool. Successful conservation resettlement requires substantial financial support to meet people’s socio-economic needs, active consultation of the people involved, and partnerships of committed non-governmental and governmental organizations.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

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