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The Limits of Rules: When Rules Promote Forest Conservation and When They Do Not: Insights from Bara Country, Madagascar

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Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Author: Horning, Nadia Rabesahala
Date: 2004
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/3609
Sector: Forestry
Region: Africa
Subject(s): forest management--case studies
deforestation
indigenous institutions
livelihoods
conservation
rules
Abstract: "To what extent can the enactment of rules achieve resource conservation? This study addresses the problem of deforestation and explores how the Malagasy state, in responding to this problem, has ignored the pluralistic arena in which forest users have devised local rule systems adapted to their respective social, political, economic, cultural, demographic, and natural environments to secure their livelihoods. These regimes coexist with the rule regime of the state, creating confusion or at least ambiguity that makes the efficacy of rules uncertain. This study explores the conditions under which rules-in-use may or may not have desired resource-conserving behavior (RCB) effects. Looking at local governance systems of five rural communities adjacent to four forests under varying protection statuses in Bara country in southern Madagascar, the relationships between rules and conservation outcomes are examined. Several instruments of investigation were combined to gather data on forest products, the rules that govern access to products and their uses, forest users' perceptions of the rules, and communities' conservation behavior. The study concludes that while rules can have some effect on conservation behavior, key actors' interests, which the rules serve, are the primary determinant of conservation outcomes. Key actors' success in monopolizing resource access, by using rules, rests primarily on the ability to enforce rules and their ability to legitimize their authority vis-a-vis forest users at the local level."

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