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Beyond Community Woodlots: Programmes with Participation

Research reports

As this paper stressed, it is mistaken to assume that units of social organisation - particularly loosely defined 'communities' - are automatically capable of collective action. Part of the Hill Farming Technical Development Project in Pakistan, funded by the World Bank, was a community forestry initiative that aimed to establish plantations on common land. When the project was later evaluated, it turned out that much of the supposed common land was under de facto private tenure, mainly owned by wealthy farmers. Local communities were heterogeneous and unable or unwilling to act collectively. The author concluded that forestry projects needed sociological knowledge and should start by catalysing the formation of self-managing groups small and cohesive enough to succeed.

M M Cernea