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Theorizing Access: Forest Profits Along Senegal's Charcoal Commodity Chain

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Ribot, Jesse C.
Journal: Development and Change
Volume: 29
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2589
Sector: Forestry
Region: Africa
Subject(s): forestry
forest products
participatory management
property rights
income distribution
Abstract: "Who profits from commercial forestry, and how? Through access mapping with commodity chain analysis this article examines the distribution of benefits from Senegal's charcoal trade and the multiple market mechanisms underpinning that distribution. Benefits from charcoal are derived from direct control over forest access, as well as through access to markets, labour opportunities, capital, and state agents and officials. Access to these arenas is based on a number of inter-related mechanisms including legal property, social identity, social relations, coercion and information control. "A commodity chain is the series of relations through which an item passes, from extraction through conversion, exchange, transport, distribution and final use. Access mapping involves: 1) evaluating the distribution of profits among and within the groups (villagers, producers, merchants...) along the chain; and 2) tracing out, or mapping, from that distribution the mechanisms by which access to benefits is maintained and controlled. Access mapping sheds light on the limited role of property, the embedded nature of markets, and the role of extra-legal structures and mechanisms in shaping equity and efficiency in resource use. It does so in a socially situated, multi-local manner, spanning the geographic spread of production and exchange. It also illuminates the practical issues surrounding establishment of community participation in benefits from and control over natural resources."

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