Understanding the Local Socio-political Processes Affecting Conservation Management Outcomes in Corbett Tiger Reserve, India
Several measures have been recommended to guarantee a sustainable population of tigers: sufficient inviolate spaces for a viable population, sufficient prey populations, trained and skilled manpower to guard against poaching and intrusion, banning trade in tiger products to reduce poaching, and importantly, the political will to precipitate these recommendations into implementation. Of these, the creation of sufficient inviolate spaces (generally in the form of protected areas) has created the most issues with local resource-dependent communities, often resulting in significant challenges for tiger conservation policy and management. Very little empirical research has, however, been done to understand and contextualize the local-level socio-political interactions that may influence the efficacy of tiger conservation in India. In this paper, we present the results of exploratory research into the ways in which local-stakeholder groups affect the management of Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR). Using a combined grounded theory–case study research design, and the Institutional Analysis and Development framework for analysis, we identify the socio-political processes through which local-stakeholder groups are able to articulate their issues and elicit desirable actions from the management of CTR. Increasing our awareness of these processes can help inform the design and implementation of more effective tiger conservation management and policy strategies that have the potential to create more supportive coalitions of tiger conservation stakeholders at the local level.