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'Forests', Agrarian Landscapes and Public Policies in the Central Western Ghats of South India

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Menon, Ajit; Hinnewinkel, Christelle; Guillerme, Sylvie; Laval, Marie; Garcia, Claude
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: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1649
Sector: Forestry
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): decentralization
agrarian reform
Abstract: "Decentralization policies around forest management in developing countries such as India have received a large amount of attention in the recent past. But invariably analysis has been limited to the specificities of policies and to what extent they have provided forest produce benefits or not to forest-dependent communities. Public policies around forests must be contextualized and analysed in a broader historical context that attempts to understand what 'forests' mean to local communities in their segmented forms and how such policies have been part of a wider process of transformation of the agrarian landscape. This paper based on on-going research in three states of the central Western Ghats of south India examines the historical transformation of the agrarian landscape and how recent public policies in the name of decentralization often fall short not only in their implementation but also in their vision. Hence, while decentralized forest management might open up spaces for communities to address some of their forest needs in particular contexts, they are as likely to marginalize other needs in the process of redefining the agrarian landscape in the name of environmental management."

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