Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. Non settlement of resource use, access and governance rights, a slowdown to conservation and livelihoods, India

Bhimashankar has been home to eight villages. In 1985, when its forests were declared 'Wildlife Sanctuary', the inhabitants lost access to their livelihood resources. Since then the Forest Department and villagers have been in conflict.


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Basic Data
NameBhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. Non settlement of resource use, access and governance rights, a slowdown to conservation and livelihoods, India
SiteBhimashankar Wild life Sanctuary in Pune District
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Establishment of reserves/national parks
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific CommoditiesLand
Tourism services
Fruits and Vegetables
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsBhimashankar wildlife sanctuary was declared on the 16th of September 1985, 130.78 sq. km (under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972), for the protection and proliferation of Maharashtra's state animal Shekaroo, the Indian Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica elphistonii), it being one of the three threatened Indo-Malayan Squirrels, along with the resources confined within the area.
Project Area (in hectares)13078
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date10/10/1985
Relevant government actorsMaharashtra Forest Department
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKalpavriksh (

Maharashtra Arogya Mandal

Kisaan Sabha

The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Processes towards self empowerment by organising village institutions, organising regular discussions, and initiating local decision making and planning processes.
Dialogues with local government fucntionaries including forest staff, using Right to Information law to furnish correct information, more active participation in local political and decision making processes, formation and strengthening of women’s collectives.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Institutional changes
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Asserting rights under the Forest Rights Act
Development of AlternativesCommunity mobilisation, strengthening local decision making processes, women collectivisation and active participation in local decision making processes, strengthening local forest based economies, Community led tourism activities, Bee conservation project, efforts towards youth mobilisation.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Yes but not completely yet, it appears to be moving in the direction of achieving environmental justice.

The passing of the Forest Rights Act brought relief to the locals depended on forest resources. Recent initiatives show growing importance being given to conservation and alternative practices.
Sources and Materials

Forest Rights Act
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National Parks and Sanctuaries in Maharashtra - Reference Guide (Volume II)

Other Documents

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Meta Information
ContributorArpita Lulla, Kalpavriksh, [email protected]
Last update15/03/2019