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Cameroon's local forest management out on a limb
Following many years of poor forest management under central government control, countries around the world are shifting forest management to regional, local and even community authorities.
The push for decentralization has the potential to greatly benefit both forests and those who depend on them. In theory, local authorities better understand the local conditions, make decisions that reflect local needs, and give marginalized groups greater access to power and resources. In practice, this is often the case. But not always.
CIFOR's research in Cameroon indicates decentralization has not produced the positive outcomes anticipated when, in the mid 1990s, efforts were made to improve local livelihoods by giving communities greater authority in managing their surrounding forests. According to "Profiling Local-Level Outcomes of Environmental Decentralizations: The Case of Cameroon's Forests in the Congo Basin," by CIFOR's Rene Oyono, the country's experiment with decentralizing forest management has often resulted in conflict within and between communities.
Posted By Megan Liddle at 4:04pm on January 01, 2006
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