Declared by IUCN, ICCAs are natural and/or modified ecosystems containing significant biodiversity values, ecological services and cultural values, voluntarily conserved by Indigenous peoples and local communities, both sedentary and mobile, through customary laws or other effective means.
Several of them are inviolate zones ranging from very small to large stretches of land and waterscapes. But, not all of them are such zones.
ICCAs can include ecosystems with minimum to substantial human influence as well as cases of continuation, revival or modification of traditional practices or new initiatives taken up by communities in the face of new threats or opportunities.
In 2004, WWF-India introduced the concept of a Community Conserved Area (CCA) to empower local communities to become active decision-makers and implement conservation initiatives.
Local communities in these CCAs form committees to undertake wildlife monitoring, patrolling and community-based tourism activities.