Joint forest management (JFM) in India has been instrumental in changing the socioeconomic lives of forest dependent communities (FDCs) from being forest-centered to one based on the money economy. JFM has resulted in the elite capture of forest resources, and enabled regeneration of degraded forests though the evidence on the quality of regeneration is mixed. The government records suggest that with the drying up of donor funds for the JFM program. FDCs are losing interest and many JFM committees are now defunct in many states. Finally, JFM related work compels forest officials to spend more resources on a disproportionately small swathe of forest land which may have implications for biodiversity conservation in the long run. The study advocates privatization of forests as a possible alternative option to address these concerns, and enable the transition of our traditional linear economy towards a circular economy.