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Communities and the Environment

Arun Agrawal Clark C. Gibson
Price: $ 23

For years environmentalists thought natural resources could be best protected by national legislation. Poor outcomes associated with this top-down approach, however, led many policymakers and practitioners to turn to local communities for better management of the environment: according to a recent survey, more than fifty countries report partnerships with communities in the forestry sector alone. But the assumptions and implications of making local communities the managers of natural resources have rarely been explored. What constitutes a "community"? Who and what should be included in framing and implementing conservation policies? What are the important political linkages between communities and the state?
This balanced volume interrogates this unexamined acceptance of community-based conservation policies. Although the contributors to this volume generally advocate the inclusion of local people in decisions about their natural resources, they also offer a much-needed corrective to the prevailing view, and give a more nuanced and realistic assessment of both the contexts and outcomes of community-based policies. Covering a wide variety of natural resources in South Asian, African, and North American countries, the case studies in this volume focus especially on how the roles of ethnicity, gender, and the state can be pivotal to the success or failure of community-based conservation.

About the Author
Arun Agrawal is an associate professor of political science at Yale. He has written Greener Pastures: Politics, Markets, and Community among a Migrant People. Clark C. Gibson is an associate professor of political science at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author of Politicians and Poachers: The Political Economy of Wildlife Policy in Africa.

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