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Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharastra, India

Struggle for forest use resource rights and positive example of forest community management approach with the indigenous community of Yawal.


The Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary, in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra state in central India, was on the brink of an ecological and social collapse around the turn of the century. Extensive timber smuggling and encroachment of forest lands had severely degraded the habitat over the years. But, a collaborative initiative between a regional organization, Lok Sangharsh Morcha (LSM) , which was formed in 2000 and the local Forest Department, supported by other government bodies, led to an amazing revival in the sanctuary. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharastra, India
State or province:Maharashtra
Location of conflict:Jalgaon
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Establishment of reserves/national parks
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Timber
Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra state of central India, it extends for 176 sq km and it has been declared as Wildlife sanctuary in 1969.

Project area:17,600
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:500
Start of the conflict:01/01/1969
End of the conflict:01/05/2018
Relevant government actors:Maharastra Forest Department
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Lok Sangharsh Morcha (LSM)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Land demarcation
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:The Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary has been declared as a protected area, but the 6 villages living within the park have got their legal recognition of their community forest rights (CFRs). They have started a forest community management approach with the support and collaboration of the forest department, including restoration activities and trees plantation which have led to the restoration of wildlife and of tiger population.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The indigenous communities have obtained their right to use and access to the resources. It is a positive example of collaborative forest community conservation management approach.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA), Amendment 2006
[click to view]

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006
[click to view]

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006
[click to view]

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

Neema Pathak Broome, Nitin D Rai, Meenal Tatpati (2017) Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Rights Act, in Economic and Political Weekly.
[click to view]

[1] Frontline 'Lesson from Yawal', Author: Neema Pathak Broom &

Yagyashree Kumar, Aug. 04, 2017
[click to view]

[2] Nature in Focus ' two sides of every story'
[click to view]

[3] Radical Ecology, 'Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary – Resurgence Through People’s Participation', Author: Neema Pathak Broom &

Yagyashree Kumar, Oct. 28, 2017
[click to view]

[4] Times of India, 'Encroachments overrunning Yawal sanctuary' Aug. 8, 2013, Author: Vijay Pinjarkar
[click to view]

[4] The Times of India 'Encroachments overrunning Yawal sanctuary', Author: Vikay Pinjarkar, Aug. 08, 2013
[click to view]

[5] The Times of India. 'Tiger sighted in Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary after 15 years', Jan 9, 2016
[click to view]

[5] The Times of India, 'Tiger sighted in Yawal sanctuary after 15 years', Jan. 9, 2016
[click to view]

'Two sides of every story ' in Nature in Focus
[click to view]

Frontline, 'Lesson from Yawal', Aug. 04, 2017. Author: Neema Pathak &
[click to view]

Yawal Wildlife Sanctuary – Resurgence Through People’s Participation
[click to view]

Nature in Focus
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Eleonora Fanari, ICTA, (UAB), [email protected]
Last update03/09/2019
Conflict ID:3631
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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