UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Challenges of participation in local forest initiatives Valeri, Muhammad Emilio


Local forest initiatives such as Community Forests and Social Forestry have been growing in recent decades to improve community participation and address landscape problems where factors such as poverty and forest degradation interact. Although participation has broadly increased, some communities still struggle to utilize these initiatives to improve forest governance. This thesis aims to address this phenomenon through a social relational approach to resource governance and policy analysis to understand how participation in decentralized forestry processes, as a function of policy context, influences local forest governance. Case studies of different communities in British Columbia, Canada and Indonesia are at different stages of developing and I have examined their local forest initiatives to provide insights on this phenomenon. The study in British Columbia (Chapter 2) focuses on local forest initiatives in Cariboo Regional District and Central Kootenay District to understand the challenges and opportunities of different communities in attempts to establish and manage their community forests. Data were collected through online interviews with governments, non-governmental organizations, and community members. The study in Indonesia (Chapter 3) investigates the implementation of Indonesia’s Social Forestry program and its influence on community participation in Social Forestry processes in Maluku Province. The research presented here reveals that communities will need to navigate through two crucial phases in developing their local forest initiatives to improve governance. In the first phase, social conflicts tend to be more prevalent as communities struggle to manage differences in aspirations and agendas to establish a common vision for their local forest initiative. This is the phase of heightened social conflicts. Local forest initiatives will then naturally transition to an operational stage marked by harvesting, marketing, and selling of their forest products. At this phase communities are likely to benefit from building forest expertise to improve effectiveness of management. Both phases influence the effectiveness of communities’ self-organization in utilizing social or community forests to improve benefits. Throughout each stage, the policy context shapes the way people participate in decentralized forestry processes. Insights from this study can help further research on utilizing community participation for improving local forest decision making.

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