Title: Pluralism and the less powerful: accommodating multiple interests in local forest management

Authors: Eva Wollenberg, Jon Anderson, David Edmunds

Addresses: Program on Local People, Devolution and Adaptive Co-Management, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), PO Box 6596, JKPWB, Jakarta 10065, Indonesia. USAID/AFR/SD, Natural Resource Policy Advisor, NRM SO Team Leader, 1325 G St NW, Washington DC, USA. OyateDuta, 607 6th Ave. West, Sisseton, SD 69262, USA

Abstract: Forest decision-making is becoming more pluralistic. As the numbers of groups involved in forest decisions have increased, concern about how to accommodate multiple interests has similarly burgeoned. In this article we present pluralism as a foundation for understanding how less powerful groups| interests can be accommodated. We examine approaches to how interests are defined, communicated and coordinated to review the scope of possibilities for improving pluralism. Experience with these methods suggests that accommodation that genuinely reflects the interests of disadvantaged groups is most likely to occur where state and civil society governance institutions provide opportunities for 1) mutual learning among interest groups, 2) iterative cycles of bounded conflict and co-operation, 3) public, transparent decision-making, 4) checks and balances in decision-making among groups and 5) the provision of capacity building or political alliances for disadvantaged interest groups. High transaction costs, persistent injustices and impossibility of neutral facilitation pose contradictions to the possibilities of achieving accommodation and need to be recognised and negotiated.

Keywords: conflict management; interests; local forest management; pluralism; social learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2001.000012

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 2001 Vol.1 No.3/4, pp.199-222

Published online: 01 Jul 2003 *

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