Sarpanch Sudha Gurwant feels that "when our van panchayats work well, our forests are healthy and our people are happy." (Credit: Prem Chadha\WFS)

Van Panchayats – Keeping Forests Healthy And People Happy!

Collecting fodder and firewood to keep the household running would once take four hours of Sunita Arya’s time in Almora district of Uttarakhand every day. Today, she spend just half-an-hour on the same chores. What brought about this almost magical turnaround? The systematic protection of the village forest, thanks to an effective 'van panchayat' (forest governance unit).