Beyond the community in participatory forest management

Community-based forest management (CFM) tends to evoke images of grassroots efforts and broad local capacity to manage forests. The picture however is much more complex. Organisations outside of local communities play important roles in achieving multiple social and ecological objectives. To better understand complex interactions between local communities and external organisations we applied social network analysis to a case study of CFM (Hutan Desa) in Indonesian Borneo. We examined the change in relationships among external organisations and local communities during the evolution of a CFM programme.

There are multiple organisations outside of communities making Hutan Desa possible. Overall, NGOs with conservation-oriented motivations for engaging in CFM were the most frequent type of organisation involved in initiating the permit process, implementing management, and providing other support activities. Our analysis illustrates that cooperation between actors is important early in the process, and the certain external actors – primarily NGOs – act as bridges between action on-the-ground and the broader organisational network throughout the process. It also depicts the shifts in types and objectives of actors from Initiation through Implementation and Support stages, hinting at the importance of different characteristics in the network over time. 

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Friedman, R.S., Guerrero, A.M., McAllister, R.R., Rhodes, J.R., Santika, T., Budiharta, S., Indrawan, T., Hutabarat, J.A., Kusworo, A., Yogaswara, H.,  Meijaard, E., St. John, F.A., Struebig, M.J. and Wilson, K.A. 2020. Beyond the community in participatory forest management: A governance network perspective. Land Use Policy, 97, p.104738. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104738