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The law also admitted that ‘the forest rights on ancestral lands and their habitat were not adequately recognised in the consolidation of State forests during the colonial period as well as in independent India resulting in historical injustice to the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who are integral to the very survival and sustainability of the forest ecosystem.”
Despite this legislative recognition, the lives of the indigenous people of India – who largely depend on forests for their livelihood – have not been easy. The traditional medicine people of the central state of Chhattisgarh, for example, are struggling to maintain their way of life in the face of legal and environmental challenges.