Sustainable Livelihoods and Governance Programme

WWF-India’s conservation programme includes field projects, campaigning and policy work, education and outreach, research and networking. The role and involvement of local communities in conservation is diverse and depends on a range of social, economic, ecological and political factors.
It is critically important to establish approaches and models that demonstrate effective linkages between sustainable livelihoods and conservation management by local communities. It is also essential to adopt such approaches to minimize dangers of over-exploitation of forest resources, loss of some of the most high value conservation forests in the country and subsequent negative impacts on local livelihoods in the long-term.

WWF-India’s Sustainable Livelihoods and Governance programme (SL&G) adopts a holistic approach to conservation which enables people and communities to analyse, decide and act to achieve fair and sustainable management and use of natural resources, and improved individual and community wellbeing.

The Programme covers all aspects of peoples’ lives and is not limited to aspects relating to income. The programme emphasize on conservation and people’s relationship with the natural resource base.
© Vishaish Uppal/WWF-India
Sixteen per cent of India’s GDP comes from biodiversity. A UNEP 2012 report has estimated that ecosystem services and other non-marketed goods account for between 47 percent and 89 percent of the so-called 'GDP of the poor' for India.

Roughly 300 million poor rural people depend on forests for at least part of their subsistence and cash livelihoods, which they earn from collection of fuel wood, fodder, thatch and a range of Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs), such as fruits, flowers and medicinal plants. Half of India’s 89 million tribal people, the most disadvantaged section of society, lives in forest fringed areas and have close economic and cultural links with forests.
© Vishaish Uppal/WWF-India

The key guiding principles of the programme are:

  • Conservation can only be successful in the long-term if strategies are based on, and compatible with, peoples’ current ways of living, their social, political and cultural environment and ability to adapt.
  • Conservation should aim to deliver positive benefits for those people who are dependent on environmental goods and services, and who bear the costs of conservation, environmental degradation and extreme events.

The approach for the above is through:

  • Focussing on addressing those aspects of peoples’ lives which influence the use and management of natural resources.
  • Ensuring that the enabling policy and institutional conditions are in place to support people to improve the quality of their environment thereby improving their wellbeing.
  • Enabling people to have the knowledge and skills to participate and make informed decisions.
  • Recognizing and build upon the traditional knowledge and practices of communities in planning/developing of conservation strategies.
  • Ensuring that decision-making about the use and management of natural resources is fair, accountable and transparent.
  • Using an approach which analyses the complexity of peoples’ lives within all stages of WWF-India’s work.


Empowered local communities are managing natural resources and acting as willing stewards of biodiversity
© WWF-India
© WWF-India
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.