A large section of the Indian population in middle Indian extending from Gujrat to West Bengal live in and around the environment without creating any problems. From the mid 19th century, the State becam anther stakholder in the fores. From time to time policeies were made and legislation enacted to regulate the relation ship between the local inhabitants, the fores and forest and the government. The bulk of the population involved comprise the Scheduled Tribes and some other backward castes who depended largely on the forest for their subsistence. 74 Scheduled Tribes in the country identified as 'Primitive Tribal Groups' totally depend on the forest for survival. They are usually small groups in pre-agricultural economy and are facing acute problems of survival. Some tibes in the area subsist as artisans. Three lakh families eke out a subsistence by working in wood, bamboo and grass craft and manufacture of Katha by using the axe to cut and shape wood, bamboo and cane. Even the agricultural tribes depend for many of their life needs on the forest. Since most of the tibals have traditionally depended on forest for their livelihood their entire social and cultural life revolves around the forest. They regarded themselves around the forest. They regaded themselves as lords of the fores. But on account of Forest legislation such as the Wild Life Protection Act and the Forest Conservation Act and reservation of forests, they have been reduced to the status of concession holders. Any breach of the forest legislation lands them in jail. The forest, therefore become the biggest irritant in the relationship between the tribals and the State.
The sutdy was conducted in the State of Jharkhand, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh (including Chattisgarh). It seeks to highlight foret as a source of livelihood for the tribals, the relationship between tribal culture and heritage with the forest. Community participation through Social Forestry and Joint Forest Management and the shortcomings of planning in this regard have also been brought out. The important the end of the book a vision for the e in regard to the interface would naturally involve a reorientation of forest policy and officials at differnt levels so that the interest of the local inhabitants are not sacrificed in the dominnant national interest. There is need to provide opportunity for a search for community solutions, more involvement of N.G.Os. and promotion of a bigger role of wormen in forest management. The best strategy is to plan upwords from community level based on local knowledge and institutions and sharing decision making power with the local communities.