Journal of Microfinance / ESR Review


India has embarked upon a community involvement process to restock the state-owned forests through a recent approach called Joint Forest Management. But the success of the Joint Forest Management program lies in the provision of alternative livelihoods to woodcutters and grazers. This article presents how the forest department of a southern state of India devised a potent tool of microfinance promotion for weaning those who are dependent on the forest by implementing a massive externally aided Joint Forest Management Project. Based on a study of 27 program villages in the Tamilnadu state, this paper proves that the success of Joint Forest Management is dependent on and directly linked to the provision of microfinance to villagers through a people's representative body—the Village Forest Council. The forest department was successful in this unusual task of promoting microfinance even in villages where formal microfinance institutions have failed, which corroborates an earlier finding that microfinance is more workable and successful if it is properly packaged in a locally suitable development program.


K. K. Kaushal is Deputy Conservator of Forests in Madurai District of Tamilnadu State for the Indian Forest Service.; J. C. Kala is Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Tamilnadu State Government, Indian Forest Service.



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Journal of Microfinance

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