Last update:

Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. Non settlement of resource use, access and governance rights, a slowdown to conservation and livelihoods, India

Bhimashankar has been home to eight villages. In 1985, when its forests were declared 'Wildlife Sanctuary', the inhabitants lost access to their livelihood resources. Since then the Forest Department and villagers have been in conflict.


See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. Non settlement of resource use, access and governance rights, a slowdown to conservation and livelihoods, India
State or province:Maharashtra
Location of conflict:Bhimashankar Wild life Sanctuary in Pune District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Large-scale wind energy plants
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific commodities:Land
Biological resources
Tourism services
Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary was declared on the 16th of September 1985, 130.78 sq. km (under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972), for the protection and proliferation of Maharashtra's state animal Shekaroo, the Indian Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica elphistonii), it being one of the three threatened Indo-Malayan Squirrels, along with the resources confined within the area.

Project area:13078
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:10/10/1985
Relevant government actors:Maharashtra Forest Department
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kalpavriksh (
Maharashtra Arogya Mandal
Kisaan Sabha
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Processes towards self empowerment by organising village institutions, organising regular discussions, and initiating local decision making and planning processes.
Dialogues with local government fucntionaries including forest staff, using Right to Information law to furnish correct information, more active participation in local political and decision making processes, formation and strengthening of women’s collectives.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Institutional changes
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Asserting rights under the Forest Rights Act
Proposal and development of alternatives:Community mobilisation, strengthening local decision making processes, women collectivisation and active participation in local decision making processes, strengthening local forest based economies, Community led tourism activities, Bee conservation project, efforts towards youth mobilisation.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Yes but not completely yet, it appears to be moving in the direction of achieving environmental justice.
The passing of the Forest Rights Act brought relief to the locals depended on forest resources. Recent initiatives show growing importance being given to conservation and alternative practices.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Forest Rights Act
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

National Parks and Sanctuaries in Maharashtra - Reference Guide (Volume II)

Meta information
Contributor:Arpita Lulla, Kalpavriksh, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2801
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.