Natural Resource Management and Institutional Development in the Context of Decentralisation: A Comparative Analysis of Two Forest Resources in Benin

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"This article presents a comparative analysis of natural forest management in two localities, Koussoukpa in the South and Toui-Kilibo in the Central Benin. The latter has experienced over 15 years of participatory sustainable management models with the setting and support to users' associations linked with project staff, state and customary authorities. On the contrary, the former has never captured the attention of central state institutions and is managed by locally developed institutions in loose and informal relations with the regional state forest administration bureaucracies. The article discusses the success and failures of recently elected local governments in their attempts to establish their legitimacy and authority over the forests and the local institutions and actors exerting usage, decision and property rights. The cases illustrate struggle over the status of the resources at stake (private, common versus public), and reveal attempts to redefine citizenship on ethno-centric bases while contesting state authority and democratic rules."
IASC, decentralization--comparative analysis, participatory management--comparative analysis, community forestry--comparative analysis, institutions--comparative analysis, state and local governance--comparative analysis