Decentralising forest management in India: the case of Van Panchayats in Kumaun.
Baumann, Pari Christina
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Baumann, P. C. (1997). Decentralising forest management in India: the case of Van Panchayats in Kumaun. (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.11596
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This thesis is an examination of the political settlement in Indian forest policy. In the last two decades the rapid degradation of Indian forests has led to a reconsideration of who should manage the forests and with what priorities. An agenda has emerged which identifies the decentralisation of resources to local communities for subsistence as a national priority. This thesis explores the content and development of the consensus over decentralised forest management. My focus in this respect is on a system of common property forest management in the Central Himalaya, and on two villages in District Kurnaun in particular. In chapter 1 argue that the content of agenda is determined by two interest groups, the government and 'a social forestry interest group', comprised of NGOs ahd the international development community. Both have theories about the interaction between environment and society in which their own specific interests are represented as being in the general interest of society as a whole. The 'conventional' position adopted by the government considers central control over local units of management necessary to prevent unrestrained resource use. The 'populist' position of the social forestry interest group maintains that common property regimes were a past tradition, and that their disruption - is a principle cause for deforestation. Both theories fail to explore the material causes for environmental degradation, and the way in which local communities have adapted their patterns of resource use and social relations of production in response to developments in the wider economy. In chapter 3, 5, 6 and 7 I show the inadequacies of populist and conventional explanations for the interaction between environment and society, and why the new agenda fails to offer a comprehensive agenda for development. In chapter 4 and 8 I consider the way in which the discourse over the environment has become entrenched in policy making.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.11596
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