Advertisement

The Value of Forest: An Ecological Economic Examination of Forest People’s Perspective

  • Debal Deb
Chapter
Part of the Forestry Sciences book series (FOSC, volume 81)

Abstract

While a comprehensive economic valuation of all use and non-use values of the forest is impossible, indigenous societies seem to have a clear, albeit inchoate idea of the value of the forest on which they depend for their material and cultural existence. Forests were valued in all ancient civilizations, and often carefully preserved for subsistence as well as esoteric uses. Following the rise of capitalism, governments in Europe and her colonies considered forests first as wastelands, and then a valuable resource for economic development, and abrogated the customary rights of indigenous forest villagers. All governments of ex-colonies have passed laws to conserve forests as national assets, but often consider them as an obstacle to economic prosperity, whenever profits from industrial land use appear to exceed the instrumental value of the forest. Throughout this cycle of the loss and gain of economic importance of the forest, indigenous people and their perspectives are pushed into oblivion.

Indigenous forest people consider the forest’s existence value to be as important as its use value, and as the bedrock of their cultural and political identity. Bereft of ownership and management rights to the state-owned forest, indigenous villagers have created their own forests on their private and community lands – both as “non-forest” vegetations for biomass removal, and as sacred groves, which uphold the non-use value of the land. Several tree species are planted and maintained along roadside, at home gardens and in sacred groves, regardless of their use values. Many rare and endangered trees that have disappeared from the state forest now exist only in these folk forests. These “worthless” trees and forests highlight the indigenous ecological economic perspective, in which the cultural significance of the forest transcends its instrumental value. This perspective of the value of the forest underlies the cultural-political motive for forest conservation, in opposition to the profit motive of industry and the development agenda of the state.

Keywords

Home Garden Forest Department Forest Policy Economic Valuation Sacred Grove 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Debdulal Bhattacharya, Bhairab Saini, Arun Ram, Debashis Mukherjee, Subrata Das, Nirmal Mandal, Bishnu Mandal, Shanti Roy and the late Rabi Mahato for diligent assistance in gathering data about non-forest vegetaion and wildlife victims in 5 districts of West Bengal.

References

  1. ACHR (Asian Centre for Human Rights) (2005) Promising picture or broken future? Commentary and recommendations on the ‘Draft National Policy on Tribals’ of the Government of India. www.achrweb.org
  2. Banerjee, Ghosh AS, Springate-Baginski O (2010) Obstructed access to forest justice in West Bengal: state violations in the mis-implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006. IPPG discussion paper #49. Improving Institutions for Pro-Poor Growth Research Programme, Manchester, UK. http://www.ippg.org.uk/papers/dp49.pdf
  3. Bann C (1997) The economic valuation of tropical forest land use options: a manual for researchers. EEPFSA/IDRC, Singapore. http://www.idrc.org.sg/eepsea
  4. Baron DP (2010) Morally motivated self-regulation. Am Econ Rev 100:1299–1329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernard T, Young J (1997) The ecology of hope: communities collaborate for sustainability. New Society Publishers, East HavenGoogle Scholar
  6. Blaikie P, Springate-Baginski O (2007) Understanding the policy process. In: Springate-Baginski O, Blaikie P (eds) Forest, people and power: the political ecology of reform in South Asia. Earthscan, London, pp 61–91Google Scholar
  7. Blomley N (2007) Making private property: enclosure, common right and the work of hedges. Rural Hist 18(1):1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bose P, Arts B, van Dijk H (2012) ‘Forest governmentality’: a genealogy of subject-making of forest-dependent ‘scheduled tribes’ in India. Land Use Policy 29:664–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bryant R (1996) The political ecology of forestry in Burma 1824–1994. University of Hawaii Press, HonoluluGoogle Scholar
  10. Burke BE (2001) Hardin revisited: a critical look at perception and the logic of the commons. Hum Ecol 29:449–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chamnipa N, Thanonkeo S, Thanonkeo P (2012) Enhanced production of 20-hydroxyecdysone in cell suspension cultures of Vitex glabrata R.Br. by elicitor feeding. J Med Plant Res 6:3317–3323Google Scholar
  12. Chiuri W (2005) Planning sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa: is there room for indigenous land tenure and knowledge systems? A case study of the Agikuyu people in Kenya, pp 39–60. In: Sustainable Development Institute, sharing indigenous wisdom: an international dialogue on sustainable development. SDI, College of Menominee Nation, Green BayGoogle Scholar
  13. Colchester M (2006) Justice in the forests: rural livelihoods and forest law enforcement. CIFOR, BogorGoogle Scholar
  14. Conroy C, Mishra A, Rai A (2002) Learning from self-initiated community forest management in Orissa, India. Forest Policy Econ 4:227–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cronkleton P, Bray DB, Medina G (2011) Community forest management and the emergence of multi-scale governance institutions: lessons for REDD + development from Mexico, Brazil and Bolivia. Forests 2:451–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Das I, Chanda SK (1997) Phialutus sanctisilvaticus (Anura: Rhachophoridae), a new frog from the sacred grove of Amarkantak, central India. Hamadryad 22:21–27Google Scholar
  17. Das I, Lyngdoh Tron RK, Duwaki R, Hooroo RNK (2010) A new species of Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from the sacred groves of Mawphlang, Meghalaya, north-eastern India. Zootaxa 2339:44–56Google Scholar
  18. Davis M (2001) Late Victorian holocausts: El Niño, famines and the making of the third world. Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar
  19. Deb D (2007a) Sacred groves of West Bengal: a model of community forest management. Working Paper No 8. Understanding livelihood impacts of participatory forest management implementation in India and Nepal. (Ser. Ed. Oliver Sprigate-Baginski). University of East Anglia, Norwich. www.uea.ac.uk/dev/People/staffresearch/ospringate-baginskiresearch/PFM-Nepal-India/8-sacred-groves-west-bengal
  20. Deb D (2007b) Personal experience of researching sacred groves adjacent to joint forest management forests. In: Sprigate-Baginski O, Blaikie P (eds) Forest, people and power. Earthscan, London, pp 254–255Google Scholar
  21. Deb D (2008a) Sacred ecosystems of West Bengal. In: Ghosh AK(ed) Status of environment in West Bengal: a citizens’ report. ENDEV Society for Environment and Development, Kolkata, pp 117–126Google Scholar
  22. Deb D (2008b) Joint forest management. In: Ghosh AK (ed) Status of environment in West Bengal: a citizens’ report. ENDEV Society for Environment and Development, Kolkata, pp 96–104Google Scholar
  23. Deb D (2009) Beyond developmentality: constructing inclusive freedom and sustainability. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Deb D, Malhotra KC (2001) Conservation ethos in local traditions: the West Bengal heritage. Soc Nat Resour 14:711–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Diamond JM (2005) Collapse. Penguin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Equations (2007) This is our homeland: A collection of essays on the betrayal of adivasi rights in India. Equations, Bangalore. Available at www.equitabletourism.org
  27. Escobar A (1995) Encountering development: the making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  28. ETC. Group (1994) Bioprospecting/biopiracy and indigenous peoples. http://www.etcgroup.org/en/node/482# Last accessed on 26 Mar 2012
  29. Faber M, Petersen T, Schiller J (2002) ‘Homo oeconomicus and homo politicus in ecological economics. Ecol Econ 40:323–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Flint EP (1998) Deforestation and land use in northern India with a focus on sal (Shorea robusta) forests 1880–1980. In: Grove R, Vinita D, Sangwan S (eds) Nature and the orient. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp 421–483Google Scholar
  31. Fromm E (1973) The anatomy of human destructiveness. Holt, Reinehart and Winston, LondonGoogle Scholar
  32. FSI (2003) State of the forest report 2003. Forest Survey of India, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India, DehradunGoogle Scholar
  33. Gadgil M, Guha R (1995) Ecology and equity. Psnguin India, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  34. Goldewijk KK, Navin R (2001) Land use, land cover and soil sciences, vol I, Land use changes during the past 300 years. UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar
  35. GoI (Government of India) (1952) National forest policy. Government of India, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  36. Grove R, Damodaran V, Sangwan S (eds) (1998) Nature and the orient. Oxford University Press, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  37. Gurven M (2004) To give and to give not: the behavioral ecology of human food transfers. Behav Brain Sci 27:543–583Google Scholar
  38. Hanley N, Milne J (1996) Ethical beliefs and behaviour in contingent valuation surveys. J Environ Plan Manag 39:255–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Harvey D (1996) Justice, nature and the geography of difference. Blackwell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  40. Hughes JD (2001) An environmental history of the world. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  41. IUCN (2001) Red list – categories and criteria (version 3.1). IUCN/SSC Red List Programme, Cambridge. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/static/categories_criteria_3_1#critical
  42. Joshi G (2010) Forest policy and tribal development. Cultural survival (March 2010). http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/forest-policy-and-tribal-development
  43. Kapoor D (2007) Subaltern social movement learning and the decolonization of space in India. Int Educ 37(1):10–41Google Scholar
  44. Kellert SR (1996) The value of life. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  45. Kothari A, Suri S, Singh N (1995) People and protected areas: rethinking conservation in India. Ecologist 25(5):288–294Google Scholar
  46. Kumar M, Kumar P (2008) Valuation of the ecosystem services: a psycho-cultural perspective. Ecol Econ 64:808–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lelé S, Springate-Baginski O, Springate-Baginski O, Lakerveld R, Deb D, Dash P (2013) Ecosystem services: origins, contributions, pitfalls, and alternatives. Conserv Soc (in press)Google Scholar
  48. McNeill JR (2000) Something new under the sun: an environmental history of the twentieth century world. W.W. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  49. Maffi L (2004) Conservation and the “two cultures”: bridging the gap. Policy Matters Issue 13 History Cult Conserv :256–266Google Scholar
  50. Malhotra KC, Deb D, Dutta M, Adhikari M, Yadav G (1992) The role of non-timber forest products in village economies of southwest Bengal. Rural Development Network Paper 15d. (Summer 1993). Overseas Development Institute, London. http://www.mekonginfo.org/mrc/rdf-odi/english/papers/rdfn/15d-i.pdf
  51. Malhotra KC, Gokhale Y, Chatterjee S, Srivastava S (2007) Sacred groves in India: an overview. Indira Gandhi National Museum of Mankind/Aryan Books International, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  52. Manoka B (1997) Existence value: a re-appraisal and cross-cultural comparison. IDRC, Ottawa. http://203.116.43.77/publications/research1/ACF26B.html
  53. Marchak P (1989) What happens when common property becomes uncommon? BC Stud 80 (Winter 1988–1989):1–21.Google Scholar
  54. Martinez-Alier J, Kallis G, Veuthey S, Walter M, Temper L (2010) Social metabolism, ecological distribution conflicts and valuation languages. Ecol Econ 72:153–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Marx, Karl (1862) [1989]. Theories of Surplus Value. Part 1. Progress Publishers, MoscowGoogle Scholar
  56. Marx K (1887) [1954] Capital, vol 1. Progress, MoscowGoogle Scholar
  57. Mazarolli DM (2011) The Benefits of tropical homegardens. The Overstory 239. Permanent Agriculture Resources, Holualoa. http://www.overstory.org
  58. Medaglia JC (2007) Bioprocessing partnerships in practice: a decade of experiences at INBio in Costa Rica. In: Phillips PWB, Onwuekwe CB (eds) Accessing and sharing the benefits of the genomics revolution. Springer, New York, pp 183–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  60. Mishra PK (2008) Globalisation and deforestation: a case study of Lapanga (Sambalpur, Orissa). In: Global forest coalition 2008. Report of the national workshop on underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation in India, Bhubaneswar, Orissa: 26th to 28th January 2008, pp 101–118. http://vh-gfc.dpi.nl/img/userpics/File/UnderlyingCauses/India-Report-Underlying-Causes-Workshop.pdf
  61. Mohanan CN, Nair NC (1981) Kunstleria Prain – a new genus record for India and a new species in the genus. Proc Indian Natl Sci Acad B 90:207–210Google Scholar
  62. Nantel P, Gagnon D, Nault A (1996) Population viability analysis of American ginseng and wild leek harvested in stochastic environments. Conserv Biol 10:608–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Narendra (2009) Adivasi culture and civil society. North South Perspect 2(1) (August 2009):4–5. http://www.siemenpuu.org/download/5529
  64. Neeson JW (1993) Commoners: common right, enclosure, and social change in England, 1700–1820. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  65. Oström E (2005) Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  66. Oström E (2009) A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems. Science 325:419–422PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Padel F, Das S (2010) Out of this earth: East India Adivasis and the aluminium cartel. Orient Black Swan, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  68. Parkinson CE (1923) A forest flora of the Andaman Islands. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra DunGoogle Scholar
  69. Pecore M (2005) Menominee sustainable forestry. In: Sustainable Development Institute, sharing indigenous wisdom: an international dialogue on sustainable development. SDI, College of Menominee Nation, Green Bay, pp 175–179Google Scholar
  70. Pimple M, Sethi M (2005) Occupation of land in India: experiences and challenges. In: Moyo S, Yeras P (eds) Reclaiming land: the resurgence of rural movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Zed, London, pp 235–256Google Scholar
  71. Prabhu P (2003) Nature, culture and diversity: the indigenous way of life. In: Kothari S, Ahmad I, Reifeld H (eds) The value of nature: ecological politics in India. Konrad Adanauer Stiftung/Rainbow, New Delhi, pp 39–82Google Scholar
  72. Prain D (1903) Bengal plants,vols I & II. W. Newman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  73. Rajan R (1998) Imperial environmentalism or environmental imperialism? European forestry, colonial foresters and the agendas for forest management in British India 1800–1900. In: Grove R, Damodaran V, Sangwan S (eds) Nature and the orient. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp 324–371Google Scholar
  74. Randall A, Stoll JR (1983) Existence value in a total valuation framework. In: Rowe RD, Chestnut LG (eds) Managing air quality and scenic resources at national parks and wilderness areas. Westview Press, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  75. Reid WV, Laird SA, Meyer CA, Gamez R, Sittenfeld A, Janzen DH, Gollin MA, Juma C (eds) (1993) Biodiversity prospecting: using genetic resources for sustainable development. World Resources Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  76. von Ribbentrop B (1900) Forestry in British India. Office of the Superintendent of the Government Printing, CalcuttaGoogle Scholar
  77. Robinson G (1975) The forest service. Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  78. Rocheleau D, Ross L, Morrobel J, Hernandez R (2000) Community, ecology, and landscape change in Zambrana-Chacuey. In: Harris JM (ed) Rethinking sustainability. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, pp 249–286Google Scholar
  79. Sagoff M (2004) Price, principle, and the environment. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Sainath P (1996) Everyone likes a good drought: stories from India’s poorest districts. Penguin, London/DelhiGoogle Scholar
  81. SCBD (2001). Sustainable management of non-timber forest resources. CBD Technical Series no. 6. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal. http://www.biodiv.org
  82. Siemenpuu Foundation (2008) Wild forests: making sense with people. Siemenpuu Foundation/CEDA Trust/FoEI, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  83. Shankar U, Murali KS, Shaanker RU, Ganeshaiah KN, Bawa KS (1996) Extraction of non-timber forest products in the forests of Biligiri Rangan hills, India. 3. Productivity, extraction and prospects of sustainable harvest of Amla (Phyllanthus emblica), Euphorbiaceae. Econ Bot 50:270–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Sheridan MJ, Nyamweru C (eds) (2008) African sacred groves: ecological dynamics and social change. James Currey, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  85. Shutkin WA (2000) The land that could be: environmentalism and democracy in the twenty-first century. MIT Press, ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  86. Shrivastava A, Kothari A (2012) Churning the earth: the making of global India. Penguin/Viking, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  87. Sivaramakrishnan K (1999) Modern forests: statemaking and environmental change in colonial eastern India. Oxford University Press, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  88. Spence MD (1999) Dispossessing the wilderness: Indian removal and the making of the National Parks. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  89. Springate-Baginski O, Blaikie P (eds) (2007) Forest, people and power: the political ecology of reform in South Asia. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  90. Tisdell C (2005) Economics of environmental conservation, 2nd edn. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UKGoogle Scholar
  91. Turner N, Berkes F (2006) Coming to understanding: developing conservation through incremental learning in the Pacific Northwest. Hum Ecol 34:495–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Venkateswar S (2004) Development and ethnocide: colonial practices in the Andaman Islands. IWGIA Document No. 111. International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  93. Wani, Milind and Ashish Kothari (2008). Globalisation vs India’s forests. Economic and Political Weekly Sept 13: 19–22Google Scholar
  94. Wilson EO (1992) The diversity of life. Penguin, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Interdisciplinary StudiesKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations