Peopled Parks: Forest Change in India’s Protected Landscapes

  • Harini NagendraEmail author
  • Pinki Mondal
  • Sanchayeeta Adhikari
  • Jane Southworth
Part of the Human-Environment Interactions book series (HUEN, volume 1)


Understanding forest change in the densely populated, forested landscapes of India poses a challenge. Although India has an established approach toward conservation that is focused on protected areas, the long history of human settlement, high population density, and human use of forests and the diversity of biophysical, ecological, social, and institutional conditions create a challenging context for forest protection. In this chapter, we synthesize information from a number of case studies of land-use/land-cover change in India, and examine four case studies in detail to provide insights into the drivers of forest clearing and regrowth in peopled parks. We find that protected areas are an important influence on the rural Indian landscape and have been reasonably successful in maintaining forest cover within their core areas. There is, however, considerable forest change taking place at the periphery of protected areas, with substantial clearing near settlements and accessible locations. In urbanizing landscapes, protected areas continue to play a dominant role, but forest availability has a major influence on vegetation change, with the human footprint expanding to cover distant, hitherto inaccessible areas. This has extremely worrisome implications for the future of forests in an increasingly urbanizing country that represents the second most populous nation in the world.


Protected Area Geographic Information System Forest Cover National Park Fuel Wood 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harini Nagendra
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Pinki Mondal
    • 3
  • Sanchayeeta Adhikari
    • 4
  • Jane Southworth
    • 5
  1. 1.Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)BangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC)Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental BiologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Geography DepartmentMacalester CollegeSaint PaulUSA
  5. 5.Department of GeographyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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