Compromising local rights, and other contradictions, in community forestry

Authors: Reem Hajjar*, Oregon State University, Johan Oldekop, University of Sheffield
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Natural Resources, Development
Keywords: community forestry, local rights, systematic review, REDD+
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Bourbon Room, Astor, Mezzanine
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In principle, community forest management (CFM) can secure greater sustainability of forests and more equitable livelihood outcomes for stakeholders, while securing local forest rights: a triple-win outcome. Case studies of CFM around the world have provided evidence of successes in achieving one, two or all three of these goals, while providing rich analyses of what factors can lead to successful outcomes. At the same time, there are many instances where CFM initiatives have failed to deliver on any or all of these goals. The literature lacks a thorough synthesis of CFM’s ability to achieve these triple-win outcomes. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature from multiple decades of CFM scholarship to synthesize the available evidence of triple-win outcomes and/or trade-offs. With the largest meta-analysis of community-managed forests to date, we found that, across all reviewed cases, local rights are often reduced while forest condition and local incomes are increased. Triple-win outcomes did occur, but at much lower frequency than double-win outcomes of improved forest condition and local incomes. Additionally, in reviewing recent literature to identify new and emerging trends in CFM scholarship, we found that the increasing focus on REDD+ initiatives being superimposed on community forestry models may result in further erosion of local rights, as this top-down forest carbon funding mechanism places new rules and restrictions on community management. These trends raise questions as to whether community forestry is indeed able to be a meaningful rights-based approach to conservation and development.

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