Policy initiatives in India, such as the Social Forestry Program and later the Joint Forest Management, were introduced for their co-benefits, including forest protection, employment opportunities, and added income for communities living in and around the forests. The evolution of these forest policies is critically reviewed. It is argued that India is perfectly positioned to benefit from climate change mitigation efforts, due to a rich, albeit chequered, history in forest management. National forestry policies are examined to assess how they can complement international climate change mitigation instruments, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the more recent Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD or REDD+ with conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) and aid national sustainable development objectives. There is a need to heed the experiences from India's evolving forest policies, particularly those concerning land tenure and resource rights, which lack specificity within international mechanisms. The active engagement of rural communities must be integral to any programmes that make any claim to development and to environmental integrity as a whole. Policy relevance India's forestry programmes are examined for their effectiveness in informing international initiatives such as the CDM and REDD+. Forestry policies in India can evolve to complement international climate mitigation tools. By examining current and historical forest legislation, and their subsequent impacts, it is shown how communities can sustain their system of forest management and retain/obtain rights to land and resources under the CDM and REDD+. Looking for such synergies within existing national policies to implement newer international initiatives can greatly facilitate and increase the momentum of global environmental change. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
- climate change policies
- sustainable development