Volume XIV |

Impact of Common Land Resources in Sustainable Regional Development: a Geographical Analysis

Abstract: India is an agricultural country where people’s livelihood is highly dependent upon their land resource. The increasing population has created immense pressure on the land resources of the country, specially the agricultural land. Due to the continuous fragmentation of land in time, the small landholdings have become economically non-viable for the poor farmers. There has been a regular increase in the agricultural inputs over the last decades. Thus, the benefits from agricultural practices have declined in time. In this situation, the marginal and small farmers in general and landless people in particular rely upon the local common land resources (CLR) to supplement their income and earning their livelihood.
The CLR, being “accessible” to all and no one having any exclusive right upon them, are generally used in various ways for economic gains. The forests provide timber, various forest products especially firewood, the pastures support the livestock and the uncultivated and barren lands are utilized for construction of houses, poultry farms and animal husbandry. Various studies have revealed that they account for up to 16 to 50 per cent of the income of landless and poor farmers respectively. Due to “open access” and rampant use, the CLR are declining all over India in general and the Indo-Gangetic Plain in particular. The present study was undertaken to analyze the dynamics of CLR in the sampled district of Uttar Pradesh in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The study reveals that there is a considerable decline in these resources during the last decades. The detailed analysis of CLR utilization and its social correlates testifies for its role in providing economic gains and livelihood to its users. Thus, the present study reveals the significance of common land resources in sustainable regional development.