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Progressive Bureaucracy: An Oxymoron? The Case of Joint Forest Management in India

Research report

Research report

The origins of formalised joint forest management (JFM) in West Bengal, India, successful in terms of both management and performance criteria, have generally been attributed either to the vision of a few progressive government officials, or to the bottom-up influence of organised local communities. This paper argued that a third important but neglected source of impetus were the front-line forest workers and their union, the West Bengal Subordinate Forest Employees Association. These forest workers were motivated to promote JFM by a desire to improve their own working conditions. By gradually fostering trust, they gave the communities in which they worked the means to develop a partnership with the state to protect local common forests from outside threats.

Anuradha Joshi