A ban on grazing, particularly by small ruminants, forms an important component of the Forest Policy and Joint Forest Management arrangements in India. Some caste groups keep larger number of small ruminants than the others. It is considered as a social trait that is sought to be corrected through extension efforts. This paper analyses the livestock structure of households by using a model of household behaviour based on profit maximisation. It shows that landholding plays a crucial role in livestock structure of households and because certain caste groups have smaller landholding they tend to keep small ruminants that can feed on the common lands and forest areas. The policy of a ban or restriction on grazing adversely affects such caste groups who therefore come to resent it.
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