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Politics of “Development” and National Forestland Regimes

Politics of “Development” and National Forestland Regimes

(p.57) Chapter 3 Politics of “Development” and National Forestland Regimes
Democracy in the Woods
Prakash Kashwan
Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates that political mediation of the contested meanings and politics of development shaped the postcolonial allocation of property rights in the hinterlands of India, Tanzania, and Mexico. It shows that the extremely skewed balance of power between peasants and politicians in India and Tanzania led to the installation of centralized regimes of forestland regimes, which leaders justified in the name of national development and which led over time to the creation of large networks of state forests and protected areas. In Mexico, a politically mobilized peasantry that enjoyed political legitimacy and benefitted from an effective welfare state secured control of more than 60 percent of the country’s forests—ultimately leading to Mexico’s development of the world’s most successful community forestry program. These findings contradict the argument that economic development and nature conservation are fundamentally in conflict and provides evidence about the political roots of socially just environmental protection policies.

Keywords:   commanding heights, international conservation, development studies, power, postcolonialism, social justice, welfare state, centralization, Arusha Declaration, Project Tiger

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