Sub-theme 10. Local institution building and radical futures for the commons
Diverse Perspectives on Forestry Commons in a ´Glocal´ World
Forest commons are among the world’s most important and contested common-pool resources. The diverse papers in this panel tackle a range of challenges, issues, and opportunities for sustainable management of communal forest resources. They include cross-cutting themes such as participatory approaches for better forest management, implications of policy-making, and possibilities of collective action to support local livelihoods and forest conservation. Agroforestry, biodiversity conservation and ethics, economic opportunities, and climate change adaptation strategies are examined with attention to capacity-building, poverty reduction, and forest outcomes. Certain papers investigate, for example: outcomes of projects to improve forest health and livelihoods; ramifications of power asymmetries for forest policy and implementation; collective actions to defend communal forests; and colonial legacies and post-colonial discourses that have perpetuated questionable forest management practices (including fire suppression). Broadly, these studies indicate concerns for better forest policy, local institutions, community empowerment, forest users’ rights, and forest governance approaches that foster local-to-global socioeconomic and environmental sustainability.
Panel 10.20. A
1. Restoring Landscape through Consortium Mode Agroforestry for Economic and Environmental Sustainability- A Case Study from Tamil Nadu, India
Forest College & Research Institute, India
The restoration of landscape can improve the productivity of land besides augmenting the profitability and the associated livelihood improvement. The state of Tamil Nadu, which represent southern part of Indian subcontinent has over 130 lakh ha geographical area, which includes over 46 % agriculture, 20 % forest and 22.61 % fallows. The agriculture and other fallow lands exhibited wide range of challenges due to vagaries of monsoon, climate associated risks and the growing demand for wood & wood products coupled with decreasing supply of wood from natural forest also underscored the need for sustainable and alternate land use system. Against this backdrop, Agroforestry based value chain has been conceived and implemented in Tamil Nadu, India during the last one decade, which leveraged technology based landscape restoration.
Before introduction of value chain agroforestry, the agro landscape has witnessed wide range of challenges & research gaps, which have been resolved through technological, organizational and marketing interventions. This value chain based industrial agroforestry model witnessed restoration of over 80000 ha and augmented productivity levels to 25 m3/ha/year (base line-10 m3/ha/year), economic improvement (3:1 BC ratio), societal development (2.4 million man days) and increased carbon sequestration (4 MT of carbon). This agroforestry value chain has satisfied issues indicated in sustainable development goals particularly livelihood improvement, restoration, clean energy, climate protection & life on land. The value chain model exhibited greater replication potential, which is now getting implemented in 7 states of India through USAID project on Trees Outside Forest.
2. Decentralised capacity building of rural communities in Agro-forestry: an efficient means of reforestation and the fight against climate change in Yoto District of Togo (West Africa).
Centre de Recherche et de Formation sur les Plantes Médicinales(CERFOPLAM), Université de Lomé, Togo
Within the framework of the integration and the safeguard of biodiversity ethics in development projects in rural areas, a plan for a decentralised capacity building has been designed for the period of 2016 to 2018. Villages surrounding the National Park of Togodo-South (PNT-S) in the District of Yoto, in Togo (West Africa) are the target of this project.
“INTEGRATION OF BIODIVERSITY ETHICS IN THE DEVELOPEMNT PROJECTS IN THE RURAL AREAS” is the theme of the training of the populations in terms of the protection of biological diversity, agro-forestry plants, and the fight against climate change, as appropriate means to reduce poverty in the rural areas. Semi-structured questionnaires and the discussions with focal groups were used method for the identification of populations needs in capacity building of resource persons in agro-forestry management.
Ten students contributed to the capacity building of 32 rural groups of 9 members each, which gave a total of 228 persons from 8 villages surrounding the PNT-S. From 2016 to 2018, for an initial area of 85 acres, Khaya senegalensis and Khaya grandifoliola are planted to reforest over a potential area of 360 acres in the zone, 81.18 acres were effectively planted with 130,000 plants. 75 women, who were members of the groups, applied on daily basis the economic measures in favour of domestic energy to fight against deforestation. Perspectives are under to cover the potential for reforestation and the systematisation of the sensitization of the entire population of the 8 villages of about 985,500 inhabitants.
Keywords: Capacity building, agro-forestry, rural areas, climate change, poverty reduction, Togo.
3. Evolution of Forest Policies and their implications on Mangrove Management in Kenya
1Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya, 2University of Embu, Kenya, 3Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Kenya
Extensive research in forestry decentralization has been carried out to date. However, what is missing from these accounts is the constructions of meaning and interpretations of decentralization policies across time and space. Drawing upon the policy arrangement approach’s four dimensions – rules, discourse, actors and power, we analyse the progression of forest policies in Kenya and their implications on management of mangroves – a forest type that has received little research attention to date. Data were collected using a desk review of policy documents, archival and peer reviewed information complimented with 33 semi-structured interviews. The findings show that the shift to decentralized forest management has faced opposing discourses – inexhaustibility of mangroves, forest protection through restricted access, commercialization ostensibly to support resource conservation and use of technical arguments (for example use of management plans to control access). Guided by these discourses central actors designed and implemented rules that promoted commercial harvesting of mangroves, marginalized local communities while entrenching state domination and control over mangrove forests. Our findings suggest that decentralized forest governance capacity can be improved by increasing the ‘common’ understanding of participatory forest management. This can be achieved by changing from a top-down system of creating rules to a negotiated system involving local communities and other stakeholders. There is also need to change the discourses surrounding mangroves within agencies charged with forest management such as KFS and empowering local communities to manage mangrove resources. This work can provide insights useful in designing mangrove management policies.
4. External contextual factors affecting the governance of communal forest resources.
1University of Kassel, Germany, 2University of Egerton, Kenya
Given the important role that communities often play in natural resource management, understanding the dynamics of collective action and examining how the various structures shape the dis/incentives for the conservation of communal forest resources is important not only to conserve communal resources but also to reduce the threat to neighboring in-situ conservation areas. The Network of Adjacent Action Situations framework was used to identify patterns of interaction associated with choices in the focal action situation, incentive structures and outcomes from these interactions. A field study was conducted in Chiredzi and Mwenezi districts in Zimbabwe. Thematic analysis was conducted using RQDA. At the national level, Zimbabwe has incorporated multi-lateral environmental agreements into legislative policies resulting in the introduction of District Environmental Action Plans. Access to the Global Environment Facility Trust Funds has enabled the enactment of the Environmental Management Act. The Environmental Management Act provided for the preparation of Village Environment Action Plans at the village level. Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa signed an international treaty to establish the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) covering protected areas, safari areas, communal areas and conservancies. The GLTP initiative is bound by the regional governance framework for trans-border ecosystems. Also, the GLTP initiative resulted in several government departments and NGOs operating in communal areas to provide technical and financial support. Overall, there is a creation of new or parallel local institutional structures.
Panel 10.20. B
1. Biodiversité, Climat et forêts du bassin du Congo : l’urgence d’une gestion durable des forêts d’Afrique centrale pour la conservation des biens communs
Institut des Relations Internationales du Cameroun (IRIC), Cameroun
Avec l’avènement de la crise climatique qui ignore les frontières des Etats, les questions du climat et de la biodiversité comme biens communs ont été mises sur la table, l’objectif étant de réguler des biens qui engendrent une interdépendance entre les peuples du monde. Les forêts du bassin du Congo sont dans cette perspective des « œufs d’or » notamment avec leur capacité potentielle à réguler le climat global et leur richesse en biodiversité. L’Afrique centrale est aujourd’hui caractérisée par un ensemble de pays qui ont des ambitions d’émergence qui reposent notamment sur l’exploitation des ressources forestières. Quelle position les pays d’Afrique centrale doivent-ils adopté face à une telle situation ? Les pays de cette sous-région doivent-ils stopper leur développement ou, cesser de reposer leur ambition d’émergence sur ces ressources afin d’orienter leur gestion dans la conservation des biens communs ? Comment les forêts du bassin du Congo doivent-elles être gérées afin de préserver le climat et la biodiversité ? Biodiversité et climat constituent un même combat pouvant garantir un avenir harmonieux sur la seule planète habitable du système solaire. De fait, la gestion des forêts du bassin du Congo devraient prioritairement reposer sur la préservation du climat et de la biodiversité. Ce qui permettra aux pays d’Afrique centrale non seulement d’améliorer leur résilience aux changements climatiques, mais aussi de contribuer à la construction d’une société mondiale solidaire au sens d’Emile Durkheim notamment dans un contexte de mondialisation et d’interdépendance globale.
2. Environmental Conservation of Akara Hills, Kenya through Agroforestry and Alternative livelihoods: A journey towards returning the Hills’ lost glory
1Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Kenya, 2Wyss Academy for Nature, University of Bern, Switzerland
The Akara Hills are a lifeline to the local community living within Siaya County in Western Kenya. These hills are catchment areas and a constituent of the Akara Hills-Yala Swamp-Lake Kanyaboli ecosystem, an ecosystem that serves approximately more than 300,000 people who depend on the Yala Swamp and Lake Kanyaboli for water, fisheries and papyrus reeds. The local community have however over the years overexploited the hill’s forest cover particularly for fuel wood, which is sold/used as the main source of energy.
This is a documentation of the gains made so far through an ongoing project that was initiated in 2020 with an aim of introducing alternative livelihoods that would aid in reducing human pressure on the hills. The project has a long-term vision of a healthy Akara Hills for improved biodiversity and local community livelihood. It is envisaged that by withdrawing pressure from the hills, the ecosystem will progressively recover and gain its lost glory. A participatory approach was embraced in the implementation process using existing community structures as entry points. Beneficiary community groups were mapped out in such a way to ensure as good as possible representation of locals within all the villages near the hills. Demonstration plots were set that would then be used in future to train other groups towards scaling up the project activities.
To date, 5 community groups have been trained on the basic principles of integrating forestry and agriculture as well as fodder production. Each group has established at least 0.25ha plot of fodder farm, tree nurseries of multipurpose trees and shrubs and out-planted up to 1,000 tree seedlings in the last two months. The activities so far implemented have gone a long way in enhancing awareness among the locals.
3. Doing more harm than good? Community based natural resource management and the neglect of local institutions in policy development
1Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Republic of Malawi, 2University of Reading, UK
Approaches to natural resource management emphasise the importance of involving local people and institutions in order to build capacity, limit costs, and achieve environmental sustainability. Governments worldwide, often encouraged by international donors, have formulated devolution policies and legal instruments that provide an enabling environment for devolved natural resource management. However, implementation of these policies reveals serious challenges. This article explores the effects of limited involvement of local people and institutions in policy development and implementation. An in-depth study of the Forest Policy of Malawi and Village Forest Areas in the Lilongwe district provides an example of externally driven policy development which seeks to promote local management of natural resources. The article argues that policy which has weak ownership by national government and does not adequately consider the complexity of local institutions, together with the effects of previous initiatives on them, can create a cumulative legacy through which destructive resource use practices and social con- flict may be reinforced. In short, poorly developed and implemented community based natural resource management policies can do considerably more harm than good. Approaches are needed that enable the policy development process to embed an in-depth understanding of local institutions whilst incorpo rating flexibility to account for their location-specific nature. This demands further research on policy design to enable rigorous identification of positive and negative institutions and ex-ante exploration of the likely effects of different policy interventions.
4. Navigating through power asymmetries: Indigenous people’s struggle for resource rights in Indian Himalayas
The Australian National University, Australia
Despite growing recognition for rights-based approach in forest governance, Indigenous people around the world continue to grapple with many challenges in retrieval of their customary resource rights. In India, the passing of Forest Rights Act in 2006 was meant to resolve historical injustices by recognising Indigenous people’s rights, but limited acknowledgement of rights themselves, abysmal implementation by state agents, and entrenched power asymmetries continue to stifle social justice for India’s Indigenous communities. With this background, I explore whether and how Western scholarly argument in favour of a more decentralized forest governance, with state and non-state actors located at multiple levels of the jurisdictional scale, could be applied in a Global South context. I draw empirical material from the study of Van Rajis, a small forest-dwelling tribal group living in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India. I triangulate multiple mixed methods with a qualitative approach to provide insights into cross-scale power configuration influencing outcomes for Indigenous resource rights. I argue that these cross-scale actors have different interests, goals and powers, and their conjunction might lead to outcomes that variously allow or stifle Indigenous people’s resource rights. I discuss how forest tenure regimes are complex yet negotiable, and how power flows both ways, but asymmetrically. While varied goals and interests at all levels of governance greatly hinder Indigenous entitlements, continuing efforts by local pressure groups and community’s internalisation of their ethnic social identity frame power to restrain absolute state control over forests.
5. Responses to Design Principles in Sacred Groves: A Narrative Inquiry based on Environmental Communication
Presidency University, Bangalore, India
The design principles can be used as guidelines to manage the common pool resource or CPR, in this case it being the sacred groves of Kerala. This study looks at the response to design principles of Elinor Ostrom with respect to the six sacred groves which have been selected from the list published by the Department of Kerala Forestry. The six sacred groves have representation from different types of ownership viz the family, group of families, Dewasom and community. Three of the sacred groves belong to Backward classes and another two belong to families of forward caste and one belongs to the Dewasom board. All the cases are from Thrissur district which is the cultural epicenter in Kerala. This ethnographic case study uses narrative inquiry in which the responses were collected from a sample of 220 interviewees. The study finds that while the principle of well-defined boundary is effective in most sacred groves other principles are not as robust. The study calls for a better partnership between the stakeholders, the families/communities that manage the sacred grove, the local government agencies and the policy makers to contribute to the sustenance of the sacred groves.
Keywords: Commons, Design principles, Elinor Ostrom, Ethnography, Environmental Communication, Narrative inquiry, Sacred groves