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Changing Boarders of the Management Unit: An Effect of Decentralization and Formalization in Communal Forest Management, Yasothon, Thailand

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Ubukata, Fumikazu
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1333
Sector: Forestry
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): CBRM
community forestry
decentralization
IASC
Abstract: "Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) is often regarded as one of the vital options to achieve environmental protection and social justice in rural area. Here local communities are assumed to be more effective than state in managing their resources, and the smallness of communities and resources themselves partly presuppose this assumption. In many cases, decentralization of natural resource management thus aims to 'scale-down' formal operational management unit in order to achieve better resource governance. On the other hand, recent administrative reforms in developing countries sometimes require larger area as a management unit, in order to formalize local management institutions. Through the coordination of these contradicting forces regarding management units, it appears that communities and authorities try to establish 'nested enterprises' of resource management. How then can communities and authorities institutionalize these 'nested enterprises' What problems will arise in the process? And how will the process affect potentiality of management performance? Taking two contrasting processes of the 'scaling-up' attempts in communal forest management in Thailand as examples, this study examined similarities and differences in the process of coordination of management units. "The study found that, firstly, both cases had experienced two-stage process of development in resource management institutions, although the influential actors in the process were different. Second, each process had faced its unique set of problems in resource management, indicating their path dependency. Third, local enclosure or 'territorialization' process, which is prone to broke off existing network of resource use, was more representative than internal institutional evolution process within the community. This process is considered to be one of the key concepts in understanding current coordination process of community resource management in Thailand, as well as 'networking' process in the case of community forest movements in the Northern area."

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