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Integrating Forest Peoples in Forest Management: Two Cases from the Congo Basin

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: ter Heegde, A.J.M.
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/10535/2084
Sector: Forestry
Region: Africa
Subject(s): forest management
community participation
community forestry
rain forests
Abstract: "The Congo Basin or Central African rainforest is the second largest in the world, and plays an important part in the livelihoods of millions of people. Those most dependent on the forest are the forest peoples, commonly called 'pygmies'. The national governments in the region and the international community have mostly expressed their concern with the right of the different groups of forest dwellers to use the forest resources freely and benefit from its management. "The Congo Basin rainforest is increasingly seen as a 'global' resource whose management requires novel types of management. Past and present management has focused extensively on financial gain through resource extraction (like industrial logging), which now appear increasingly discredited. Despite international involvement and funding, the inhabitants of the rainforest are still mostly excluded from participation in forest management. Tenure issues are emerging as crucial for long-term sustainability. However tenure issues remain fundamentally unanswered in the management of the rainforest. "Surprisingly there are virtually no experiences in legalizing local management practices. Those instances where local communities have been invited to participate in forest management were characterized by extremely constrained conditions, notably through a very technical form of community forestry disconnected from local management practices and experiences. Rather than evaluating the causes of the apparent failure of community forestry and the broader forest management policies, new policy initiatives seem intent to dismiss a more thorough review of forest management in favour of plugging the substantial holes in current forest management practice. "The paper focuses on how forest peoples have been unable to participate in forest management in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon being one of the first countries to have adhered to sustainable forest management policies and the DRC now building a new forest policy."

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