India has a large range of indigenous and community conserved areas (ICCAs), covering diverse
ecosystems and species, and providing interesting models of integrated conservation and livelihood
security. But most such areas lack formal recognition. They also face a number of challenges, including
the lack of tenure security and threats from development projects, which makes the need for legal
recognition especially urgent.
A number of laws in India are relevant for ICCAs. These include instruments that directly concern
protected areas as well as legislation governing other subjects. Certain types of ICCAs are provided
some legal backing, but the relevant legislation does not cover the entire range of ICCAs in India, and
has serious shortcomings. Although some policy documents provide support for legal recognition of
ICCAs, to date these policies have not been implemented in law.
This case study provides examples of ICCA types that are covered by, or could be covered by,
legislation. It analyses the pros and cons of such coverage, and concludes with recommendations on
what is further needed to provide sound legal backing for ICCAs in India.