The politics of community forestry in a Global Age — A critical analysis
Jill M. Belsky
Department of Society and Conservation, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, United States
Received 30 January 2014. Revised 25 October 2014. Accepted 11 November 2014. Available online 12 December 2014.
This paper asks: (1) how has community forestry been informed by the ascendancy of particular forms of neoliberal restructuring and rise in market-based interests in environmental governance and (2) how has its engagement with these market forces affected its effectiveness in meeting the objective to reconcile livelihood and environmental protection? Towards answering these questions the paper examines two places known for their forest landscapes and livelihoods and with community forestry activities: the Himalayan country of Bhutan and the U.S. western state of Montana. Bhutan's top-down, national community forestry program and Montana's bottoms-up, collaborative effort known as the Montana Legacy Program are shown to be highly different not only in their institutional arrangement but also in their engagements with particular forms of neoliberalism including type of markets, regulatory processes, market opportunities, and the role of the private sector. Their differences reveal important ways that market forces and market-oriented interests shape threats as well as solutions to meeting forest protection and livelihood objectives in the two contexts, but produce unpredictable partnerships and awkward contradictions in the process.
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