Beyond Committees: Hybrid Forest Governance for Equity and Sustainability

Rana, P and Chhatre, A (2017) Beyond Committees: Hybrid Forest Governance for Equity and Sustainability. Forest Policy and Economics, 78. pp. 40-50.

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Abstract

The overwhelming emphasis on ‘user committees’ under decentralized forestry management in recent times may further reinforce the segmentation of forest governance space in terms of management strategies. This segmentation has appeared in the form of artificial boundaries such as “state-managed”, “community-managed, “private concessions” etc. Each of these governance modes, on its own, does not have all the strengths and capabilities needed for effective forest governance, especially public forests. These open access forests have multiple and overlapping use, scale-determined production of goods and services, and high costs of excluding free-riding individuals. The paper shows that by selectively mixing useful elements from each of the modes of governance, we can achieve equity and sustainability in forest governance to a greater extent. These hybrid forms of governance mechanisms ensure accountable and transparent decision-making, include diverse and local perspectives, and co-produce innovative ideas to solve the complex and multi-scaler forestry problems. We demonstrate this through an experiment in the Indian Himalayas, where the unique strengths of each mode – state (authority, scientific expertise), community (local knowledge), elected governments (democratic space and deliberations) - were selectively combined to address the principal weaknesses of the existing system for the distribution of subsidized timber trees from public forests to local households. The illustration also shows the various challenges in sustaining and institutionalizing hybrid forms of governance due to local institutional apathy and distrust, indifference of state governments and politico-economic vested interests. The paper calls for unpacking hybridity in forest governance through greater conceptual exploration of relational spaces in which different actors interact and negotiate environmental aspects, and co-produce innovative solutions to complex, scaler and interdependent problems.

Affiliation: Indian School of Business
ISB Creators:
ISB CreatorsORCiD
Chhatre, Ahttp://orcid.org/0000-0002-5374-7867
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hybrid governance, user-committees, segmentation, public forests, timber rights, Himachal Pradesh
Subjects: Sustainable Development
Socio Political System
Depositing User: Veeramani R
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2016 09:04
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2017 22:40
URI: http://eprints.exchange.isb.edu/id/eprint/494
Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2017.01.007
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