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Is there such a thing as wasteland? Biofuels and wasteland development in Tamil Nadu, India

Baka, Jennifer (2011) Is there such a thing as wasteland? Biofuels and wasteland development in Tamil Nadu, India. In: 13th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), 10th-14th January 2011, Dr. Marri Channa Reddy Human Resource Development Institute of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, India.

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Abstract

India’s current biodiesel policy mandates the use of non-edible oilseeds grown wastelands so as to maximize benefits to rural welfare, energy security and environmental quality. However, the extent of wastelands, as well as their significance to rural livelihoods, is poorly understood. Through a case study of Jatropha curcas biodiesel production in Tamil Nadu, this paper highlights the ambiguities, contradictions and omissions embodied in the concept of wastelands. Multiple assessments exist, each yielding different results and each underplaying the linkage between wastelands and rural livelihoods. Stakeholders are united in the belief that there is no such thing as wastelands but with different corollaries. Government and corporate officials assert these areas could be put to better economic uses while village stakeholders claim there are no wasted lands within the village bounds. Further, the wasteland areas targeted for biofuel production are currently cultivated with Prosopis juliflora, a drought tolerant tree presently used as a feedstock for a host of energy applications including fuelwood, charcoal, brick and electricity production. Prosopis coppicing also provides annual employment to marginal farmers and the landless poor. As result, the relationship between biofuel cultivation on Indian wastelands and rural livelihood warrants a more critical evaluation. Other countries’ biofuel policies targeted at marginal or degraded lands would similarly benefit from additional scrutiny.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL: http://iasc2011.fes.org.in/
Additional Information: © 2011 The Author
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD2329 Industrialization
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2013 11:18
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2017 12:45
Projects: International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC)
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/53048

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