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Participation and Economic Innovations: Technocracy Dilemmas in Community Forest Management

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Giri, Kalpana; Ojha, Hemant R.
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7250
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): community forestry
Abstract: "Despite communities’ institutional recognition and improvement in forest condition, livelihood benefits to local communities, especially the poor and disadvantaged groups, remain limited. Drawing upon the experience of a participatory action research project, that aims to understand processes through which economic innovations can address livelihood challenges in Nepal, we contend the need for problematizing the participatory approach itself to unravel the complex pathways of – and constraints to – livelihoods innovations in Community Forestry. We argue that technocracy limits space for economic innovations in community forests through regulatory practices and bureaucratic behaviour. Despite legal autonomy, local communities face significant hurdles and impediments as they plan to undertake innovative actions in forest management, use, marketing, and benefit sharing. A key conclusion is that livelihood innovations in Community Forestry may be more related to the relationship with bureaucratic and regulatory structures rather than the commonly assumed internal processes and capacities of the local communities. Thus, technocracy is impeding economic innovations despite the significant participatory gains in community forestry."

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