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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   Table of Contents
October-December 2017
Volume 15 | Issue 4
Page Nos. 357-484

Online since Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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Disempowering Democracy: Local Representation in Community and Carbon Forestry in Africa Highly accessed article p. 357
Melis Ece, James Murombedzi, Jesse Ribot
All major agencies intervening in community-based and carbon forestry – such as international development agencies, conservation institutions, and national governments – state that their interventions must engage local participation in decision making. All say they aim to represent local people in the design and implementation of their interventions. In practice, decision-making processes are rarely 'free', barely 'prior' poorly 'informative' and seldom seek any form of democratic 'consent' or even 'consultation'. Through case studies of representation processes in forestry programs in the Congo Basin region, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda, this special issue shows how forestry interventions weaken local democracy. We show that participatory and 'free, prior and informed consent' processes rarely reflect local needs and aspirations, they are rarely democratic and they do not permit participants to make significant decisions – such as whether or how the project will take place. The intervening agents' choices of local partners are based on expedience, naïve notions of who can speak for local people, anti-government and pro-market ideologies informed by a comfort with expert rule. Although elected local governments are present in all cases in this special issue, they are systematically circumvented. Instead, project committees, non-governmental organizations, customary authorities, and local forestry department offices are recognized as 'representatives' while technical project objectives are favored over democratic representation.
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Facipulation and Elite Formation: Community Resource Management in Southwestern Ghana p. 371
Manali Baruah
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Feigning Democracy: Performing Representation in the UN-REDD Funded Nigeria-REDD Programme p. 384
Emmanuel O Nuesiri
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation plus the sustainable management of forest and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) is a global climate change mitigation initiative. The United Nations REDD Programme (UN-REDD) is training governments in developing countries, including Nigeria, to implement REDD+. To protect local people, UN-REDD has developed social safeguards including a commitment to strengthen local democracy to prevent an elite capture of REDD+ benefits. This study examines local participation and representation in the UN-REDD international policy board and in the national-level design process for the Nigeria-REDD proposal, to see if practices are congruent with the UN-REDD commitment to local democracy. It is based on research in Nigeria in 2012 and 2013, and finds that local representation in the UN-REDD policy board and in Nigeria-REDD is not substantive. Participation is merely symbolic. For example, elected local government authorities, who ostensibly represent rural people, are neither present in the UN-REDD board nor were they invited to the participatory forums that vetted the Nigeria-REDD. They were excluded because they were politically weak. However, UN-REDD approved the Nigeria-REDD proposal without a strategy to include or strengthen elected local governments. The study concludes with recommendations to help the UN-REDD strengthen elected local government authority in Nigeria in support of democratic local representation.
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Choices have Consequences: REDD+ and Local Democracy in Kenya p. 400
Susan Chomba
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Theorising Derecognition of Local Government Authorities as Political Injustice: The Effects of Technical Claims in Senegal's Forestry p. 414
Papa Faye
Most developing-country governments have 'recognised' elected local governments (ELGs) by transferring to them the authority (e.g. rights and resources) over the forests within their jurisdiction. In practice, however, Forest Services are 'derecognising' ELGs – taking back these decentralised powers. This article shows that 'derecognition' is effectively a new 'recognition' dynamic in decentralised forest management in Senegal, in which Forestry officials and agents derecognise ELGs drawing upon technical claims. It also theorises derecognition as political injustice by demonstrating how the technical claims, although used in support of sustainable forest governance, cause political injustice through the following observed derecognition outcomes: 1) circumvention of ELGs that deprives them of the means to be responsive to local people (and thus disables them as democratic institutions); 2) subordination of the new participatory organisations created to receive the powers taken from ELGs to instrumental objectives of central forestry authorities; and 3) progressive privatisation of the forests that diminishes the democratic public domain.
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Climbing the Ladder of Participation: Symbolic or Substantive Representation in Preparing Uganda for REDD+? p. 426
Robert Mbeche
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Representation through Privatisation: Regionalisation of Forest Governance in Tambacounda, Senegal p. 439
Melis Ece
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Getting ready for REDD+: Recognition and Donor-country Project Development Dynamics in Central Africa p. 451
Gretchen M Walters, Melis Ece
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Tourism Taxation, Politics and Territorialisation in Tanzania's Wildlife Management p. 465
Emmanuel Sulle, Holti Banka
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Conflict to Coexistence: Human – Leopard Interactions in a Plantation Landscape in Anamalai Hills, India p. 474
Swati Sidhu, Ganesh Raghunathan, Divya Mudappa, TR Shankar Raman
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Democracy in the Woods p. 483
Dan Brockington
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