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Colonial Margins and Global Hotspots: The Past and Present of Forest Management in Thailand

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Roth, Robin
Conference: Politics of the Commons: Articulating Development and Strengthening Local Practices
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Conf. Date: July 11-14, 2003
Date: 2003
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1116
Sector: Forestry
Social Organization
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
forest management--case study
parks
forest policy
conflict
conservation
history
protected areas
Abstract: "Forest resource management in Thailand bears the mark of its historical position on the margins of colonial power and its present position in a biodiversity hotspot. During the colonial era, British forestry in Burma and India had a fundamental influence on the knowledge and techniques used in Thai forest management. More recently, international conservation agendas and organizations have influenced the ways in which the Thai government regulates the forest within its boundaries. The treatment of forests as a national and international resource, defined in interaction with colonial neighbors and global partners, has resulted in legal constructs, spatially simplistic conservation mechanisms and a conception of nature ill-suited to managing forests as a local resource. This paper uses a case study from a region where the government is establishing a national park to investigate the manifestation of Thailand's historical legacy in local park-people conflicts. It finds that the continued use of laws, tools and concepts derived in relation to colonial and global influences undermines the forestry department's ability to address the contemporary challenge of managing forests as a local, as well as a national/global commons."

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