Dharamgarh in the Kumaon area of Uttaranchal has a long tradition of people's management of forests. Since 1931, a van panchayat had been doing a remarkable job. The association of these forests with various local deities ensured that local community institutions were helped along on their job. However, with increasing population and depleting resources, forests, divine associations notwithstanding, faced the axe. This largely agrarian area is heavily dependent on the forests. And by the beginning of the 1980s, the situation was so bad that people, especially women, had to trek miles to collect small quantities fodder or fuelwood.
"We realised it was time to back to the protection of devi Kokilamata