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Research Report

Environmental Governance and the Emergence of Forest-Based Social Movements

Peter Cronkleton
Peter Leigh Taylor
Deborah Barry
Samantha Stone-Jovicich
Marianne Schmink
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2008
Pages: 44
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-3)

    Forest-based social movements in Latin America are today helping to introduce a new conservation actor into the governance of protected areas: the forest steward community. These forest steward communities are attaining significant legal recognition of customary access and formal rights to forest resources. They form collective institutions to more proactively govern resource use and management and develop new capacities to learn and adapt to changing conditions. Forest steward communities are linked to a growing network of horizontal and vertical alliances with other groups with shared interests, enhancing their access to information and experience as well as their political influence through...

  2. (pp. 4-24)

    The Grassroots Assistance project’s regional context studies analyzed the historical roots of the four grassroots organizations and the emergence of forest stewardship communities that build on the organizations’ networks of horizontal and vertical alliances. The studies examined the impact of these groups on forest governance and their contribution to conservation and development. They also explored the role of external assistance and how different models have facilitated the growth and increased the capability of these organizations.

    Each case study illustrates innovative experiences with the protection of natural and cultural resources via pursuit of conservation and community livelihood strategies. All of these...

  3. (pp. 25-30)

    Is it possible to generalize about how forest-based social movements develop by analyzing these four diverse cases? The selected cases are exceptional because they represent success by community groups in organizing grassroots movements that have ultimately secured greater control over forest resources. It is probably more common that forest people do not form grassroots organizations unless their forest-related livelihoods are threatened. What has made these selected groups’ experiences different? The reasons for their success in organizing lie in complex historical processes shaped by a variety of factors, including the presence of charismatic leadership, the capacity to achieve consensus on the...

  4. (pp. 31-31)

    A new actor in the conservation of protected areas is emerging in Latin America, the forest steward community. In the four case studies described here, communities have won legal access and management rights to forest resources. They are engaging in a range of timber and non-timber product activities that produce signs of significant positive conservation and local livelihood impacts. These communities are forming new collective organizations to govern and manage their resources, and are developing a growing network of alliances with other national and international groups with shared interests in conservation and development. Their secondary level organizations are showing significant...