Beyond the Decade of Policy and Community Euphoria: The State of Livelihoods Under New Local Rights to Forest in Rural Cameroon

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2012
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Abstract
"This paper interrogates the state of livelihoods under the exercise of new community rights to forest in rural Cameroon. The assessment makes use of a set of livelihoods indicators. The granting and exercise of new community rights, namely, management rights and market rights, are not synonymous with improved livelihoods, despite initial predictions and expectations. The resource base has not changed; it is more and more threatened by poor local level institutional arrangements and social and bio-physical management strategies, in addition to the weak central level regulation and monitoring actions. Similarly, the rights-based reform and community forestry are not improving basic assets and means at the household level. Nevertheless, this paper suggests that this experiment should not be judged hastily, since fifteen years are not enough to judge social and institutional processes like those in progress in Cameroon. The authors draw policy options likely to improve the livelihoods dimension of the reform and launch a debate on the real contribution of community income derived from community forests towards poverty alleviation at the household level."
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community forestry, livelihoods, institutional analysis, households, common pool resources, poverty alleviation
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