, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 321–333 | Cite as

Human–wildlife conflicts in the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve and the politics of forest conservation

  • Amrita SenEmail author
Research Article


The aim of this paper is to identify the politics of forest conservation—processes through which formal stewardship methods are legally enforced circumventing customary community rights to the forests. Drawing on an ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve of West Bengal, this paper discusses the ways in which such bureaucratic provisions of forest conservation shapes ideologies about human–wildlife conflicts in India. The paper draws on empirical lessons and provides observations on the different kinds of forest notifications and their impacts on the customary rights of the forest-dependent communities in the Sundarbans. Although it has been widely established that forest conservation adversely impacts local livelihoods and results in dispossession from subsistence resources, it is indeed imperative to understand that in legitimising forested landscapes as ‘protected’ and inviolate, survival of different communities is also at stake.


Forest notifications Human–wildlife conflicts Neoliberalism Politics Sundarbans 



The author acknowledges funding from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Indian Institute of Management Calcutta 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia

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