Keywords: collective action, CPRs, India, institutions, social capital, Western Himalayas
Common pool resources and communal control: empirical evidence from Himachal Pradesh, India
The Sirmour district, Himachal Pradesh, India, lies in the western Himalayan range. Mixed-farming is the main occupation in the mid-hills and basically consists of agriculture, livestock and forest produces. Hence, communal forests (mushtarka), common grazing lands (ghasnies) and gravity-flow irrigation systems (kuhl) were found to be the three major common pool resources in the villages of Dhamla and Chauras which we have studied. Community-based resource management cuts across natural resource sectors, it is therefore important to move beyond specific resource sectors to comparative analysis of 'the spirit of the rules'. Instead of focusing on the formal characteristics of any particular set of rules or typology of rights, one should look out for an overall coherence of socio-political nature. This study focuses on the role of 'norms, rules, social status and socially shared visions' governing access to and use of resources. It also attests for the resilience of the 'village republic' spirit in response to the insensitivity of public management and control.