Re-centralisation through fake Scientificness: The case of community forestry in Nepal

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  • Bijendra Basnyat
  • Treue, Thorsten
  • Ridish Kumar Pokharel
  • Srijana Baral
  • Yam Bahadur Rumba

This paper explains how powerful actors use scientific forestry narratives to regain power over decentralised forest resources. Through elements of trust, incentives, coercion, and avoidance forest bureaucrats convince forest user groups of the need to implement so-called scientific management and planning principles to obtain predictable harvests. In reality, however, these principles replicate colonial-style Indian forest management and expand the involvement of forest bureaucrats in all aspects of community forestry to re-gain resource control and establish rent-seeking opportunities for forest bureaucrats. In this process, forest user groups lose authority over and income from their forests. We define this as “technical-sounding re-centralisation” since the forest bureaucracy has re-captured decision-making power over forest resources and associated revenue through narratives of scientific forestry. We argue that today's colonial-style re-centralised governance of community forests must give way to forest management principles, which devolve decision-making powers to local communities while ensuring conservation through utilisation, and reasonable taxation.

TidsskriftForest Policy and Economics
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 2020

ID: 239916879