Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 124–135 | Cite as

Mountain commons: Changing space and status at community levels in the Himalayas

  • Narpat S. Jodha


This paper deals with the imperatives of nature-society interaction in the Himalayas as seen through CPR (Common Property Resources). It specifically looks at the process and factors that characterize the dynamics of the above interactions, with particular reference to the changing status and governance of CPRs at community levels. The paper puts together the synthesis of observations and inferences of different studies by ICIMOD and others in mountain regions, particularly in different parts of Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China and Pakistan. Rural CPRs (providing sustenance supplies and services) as an important component of a community’s natural resource base, manifest the institutional arrangements evolved by the communities to facilitate their adaptations to nature. The above process can be more clearly illustrated with reference to specific characteristics of mountain areas, called mountain specificities.

However, over time, the situation of CPRs in terms of their extent and status, governance and management as well as contributions to community sustenance, has changed. The paper attempts to indicate potential lead lines for searching options for rehabilitation of CPRs, based on a closer under-standing of the factors contributing to their decline.


Nature-society interaction common property resources mountain regions Himalayas 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agarwal, A. and S. Narain. 1990. Strategies for the Involvement of Landless and Women in Afforestation: Five Case Studies from India. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  2. Baral, J.C. 2002. Who Should Control Forests of Nepal: Reminiscence of the Past Endeavour and Some Thoughts for the Future Action. E-mail Contribution Mountain Forum-Asia Discussion in Connection with Bishkek Global Mountain Summit, October 2002. (Available from Scholar
  3. Banskota, M., T.S. Papola and J. Richter (eds). 2000. Growth, Poverty Allevation and Sustainable Resource Management in Mountain Areas of South Asia. Kathmandu: ICIMOD and DSE-ZEL (Feldafing).Google Scholar
  4. Berkes, F. (eds.). 1989. Common Property Resources: Ecology and Community-Based Sustainable Development. London: Belhaven Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bijonness, I.M. 1983. External Economic Dependency and Human Adjustment to Marginal Environments in High Himalaya, Nepal. Mountain Research and Development 3(3): 263–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blaikie and S. Z. Sadeque. 2000. Policy in High Places: Environment and Development in the Himalayan Region. Kathmandu: ICIMOD.Google Scholar
  7. Bromley, D.W. and D.P. Chapagain. 1984. The Village Against the Centre: Resource Depletion in South Asia. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 6(5): 869–873.Google Scholar
  8. Dasgupta, J. and H.J. Symlieh. 2006. Trends in Tenurial Arrangements of Forests and its Implications for Sustainable Management: A Case Study from Meghalaya, India. (Paper for the 11 th Biennial Conference of IASCP, June, Bali)Google Scholar
  9. Dove, M.R. and C. Carpenter (eds.). 1992. Sociology of Natural Resources in Pakistan and Adjoining Countries. Lahore: Vanguard Books Pvt. Ltd.Google Scholar
  10. EERN. 2000. Joint Forest Management and Community Forestry in India: Summary Findings of EERN. Bangalore: Ecological and Economics Research Network.Google Scholar
  11. Guha, R. 1983. Forestry in British and Post-British India: A Historical Analysis. Economic and Political Weekly 18(44&45).Google Scholar
  12. Gupta, R. 2006. The Dynamic between States, Resources and Indigenous People in South Asia: Implications for Common Property Resource Governance (Paper for the 11 th Biennial Conference of IASCP, June, Bali).Google Scholar
  13. Hiremath, S.R. 1997. Editor. Forest Lands and Forest Produce: As if People Mattered. Dharwad, India: National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR).Google Scholar
  14. Hobley, M. 1996. The Four Ages of Indian Forestry: Colonialism, Commercialism, Conservation and Collaboration. In Participatory Forestry: The Process of Change in India and Nepal, (ed. M. Hobley), London: Overseas Development Institute.Google Scholar
  15. Jiyuan, L., Yansui, L., Xiangzheng, D. 2002. Management and Use of Natural Resources for Poverty Alleviationn in Mountainous Areas of Western China. In: N.S. Jodha, B. Bhadra, R. Khanal, and J. Richter (eds). Poverty Alleviation in Mountain Areas of China (Proceedings of the International Conference held in Chengdu, China, November 2002).Google Scholar
  16. Jodha, N.S. 1992. Rural Common Property Resources: A Missing Dimension of Development Strategies. World Bank Discussion Paper No.169. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  17. Jodha, N.S. 1998. Reviving the Social System-Ecosystem Links in the Himalayas. In Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience, (eds.) F. Berkes and C. Folke. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Jodha, N.S. 2000. Globalisation and Fragile Mountain Environment: Policy Challenges and Choices. Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 20(4).Google Scholar
  19. Jodha, N.S. 2001. Poverty and Environmental Resource Degradation: An Alternative Explanation and Possible Solutions. In Life on the Edge: Sustaining Agriculture and Community Resources in Fragile Environments, (ed. N.S. Jodha). Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Jodha, N.S. 2002. Globalization and Fragile Mountains. An Exploratory Research Report submitted to the MacArthur Foundation. Kathmandu: ICIMOD.Google Scholar
  21. Jodha, N.S. 2005. A Restricted Revisit to Common Property Resources in Dry Regions of India. (A paper for SANDEE Workshop, Limited Circulation).Google Scholar
  22. Jodha, N.S. 2006. Natural Resource Management and Poverty Alleviation in Mountain Areas In: ‘Reclaiming Nature: Environmental Justice and Ecological Restoration’ (Editors) J.K. Boyce, S. Narain and E.A. Stanton. London: Enthem Press (in Press).Google Scholar
  23. Jodha, N.S., M. Banskota and T. Partap (eds). 1992. Sustainable mountain agriculture, 2 vols. Delhi: IBH Publishing Company, 807 p.Google Scholar
  24. Jodha, N.S. and T. Partap. 1993. Folk Agronomy in Himalayas: Implications for Research and Extension. In Rural People’s Knowledge, Agricultural Research and Extension Practices. IIED Research Series 1(3).Google Scholar
  25. Jodha, N.S. and S. Shrestha. 1994. Sustainable and More Productive Mountain Agriculture: Problems and Prospects. A Paper Presented at ICIMOD’s 10th Anniversary, International Symposium on ‘Mountain Environment and Development’. Kathmandu, Nepal.Google Scholar
  26. Leach, M., R. Mearn and I. Scoones. 1997. Environmental Entitlements: A Frame Work for Understanding Institutional Dynamics of Environmental Change. IDS Discussion Paper 359. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
  27. Lynch, O.J. and K. Talbott. 1995. Balancing Act: Community-based Forest Management and National Lw in Asia and Pacific. Washington, D.C.: World Resource Institute.Google Scholar
  28. Metz, J.J. 1991. A reassessment of Causes and Severity of Nepal’s Environmental Crisis. World Development 19(7).Google Scholar
  29. Pant, S.D. 1935. Social Economy of Himalayans. London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  30. Rasul, G. and M. Karki. 2006. Political Ecology of Degradation of Forest Commons in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. (Paper for 11th Biennial Conference of IASCP, June, Bali).Google Scholar
  31. Saigal, S. 2001. Joint Forest Management: A Decade and Beyond. (Paper Presented at a Workshop at Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India, September).Google Scholar
  32. Sanwal, M. 1989. What We Know about Mountain Development, Common Property, Investment Priorities and Institutional Arrangements. Mountain Research and Development, 9(1): 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Saxena, N.C. 2000. Research Issues in Forestry in India. Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 55(3): 359–83.Google Scholar
  34. Shackleton, S., B. Campbell, E. Wollenberg and D. Edmunds. 2002. Devolution and Community Based Natural Resource Management: Creating Space for Local People to Participate and Benefit.’ ODI Natural Resource Perspectives 76.Google Scholar
  35. Shivakoti, G., G. Varughese, L. Ostorom, A. Shukla, and G. Thapa (eds.). 1997. People and Participation in Sustainable Development: Understanding Dynamics of Natural Resource Systems. Kathmandu: Tribhuvan University, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences.Google Scholar
  36. Somanathan, E. 1991. Deforestation, Property Rights and Incentives in Central Himalaya. Economic and Political Weekly 26(1): 37–46.Google Scholar
  37. Tamang, D., G.J. Gill and G.B. Thapa (eds.). 1996. Indigenous Management of Natural Resources in Nepal. Kathmandu: Winrock International Nepal.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Narpat S. Jodha
    • 1
  1. 1.International Centre for Integrated Mountain DevelopmentICIMODKathmanduNepal

Personalised recommendations