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ŠUMARSKI LIST 9-10/2010 str. 66     <-- 66 -->        PDF

J. Tomićević, M. A. Shannon, D. Vuletić: DEVELOPING LOCAL CAPACITY FOR PARTICIPATORY... Šumarski list br. 9–10, CXXXIV (2010), 503-515


Experience around the world has demonstrated that

planning for the sustainable conservation of biodiversity

requires the participation of local people living in the
area (Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2004a, 2004b;
Winterbottom 1992). Local communities need to be
actively involved in conservation planning and management
so that their needs and aspirations are met and biodiversity
is sustained (West 1991; McNeely 1993;
Lewis 1996). Community participation in biodiversity
management and recognition of the role of traditional
knowledge in sustaining the landscape and associated
biodiversity are consistently recognised as fundamental
to the success of development projects (Alexander
2000). In general, research and practice has confirmed
that the attitudes of local people towards the conservation
of resources can be improved by increasing the benefits
these populations receive as a result of supporting
and carrying out protection measures, and by involving
these communities directly in decision-making processes
(Parry andCampbell 1992). It is also useful to
not that participatory process is a key principle of emerging
new modes of environmental governance (Shannon2006).

Participation of local people in environmental assessments,
planning, and management assumes sufficient
social capacity to engage in a communicative relationship
with the diverse array of other actors (Shannon
2002b). In this context, other actors consist of managers,
scientists, government officials, non-governmental organizations,
international experts and so on.These actors
all have in common access to knowledge, theories,
concepts, and vocabulary produced outside of the local
community that affects the programmes and policies
(Shannon 2002a; Kruger and Shannon 2000).
AgrawalandGibson(2001:11) argue that “it is possible
that the existence of communal norms will promote
cooperative decision-making within the
community.” Thus, in a participatory process, it is critical
to develop inclusive communicative relationships
among the network of governance actors that respects
local knowledge and recognizes the importance of local
needs and values.Through the communicative process,
understanding that local natural resource livelihood strategies
are essential to creating and sustaining biodiversity
emerges and the role of local social capacity is
recognized by all actors. It is for this reason that the
principle of participation as an essential element of good
governance (DePoe, Delicath and Elsenbeer

Mr. Pekka Patosaari,Director, UN Forum on Forests
Secretariat, stated at the Sixth Session of the UN

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples during the

‘Dialogue withAgencies’ focused on “Territories, Lands
and Natural Resources” that one of theGlobal Objecti

ves on Forestsis to “enhance forest-based economic,
social and environmental benefits, including by improving
the livelihoods of forest dependent people” (Patosaari,
2007). Emphasis on the importance of local
communities in securing the sustainability of forests and
protection of biodiversity continues to grow among managers
and policy makers, and has become an international
focus of research (c.f.;Agrawal andGibson 2001;
Brosius, Tsing andZerner 2005;DePoe,Delicath
andElsenbeer 2004).While increasing knowledge
about forest dependent people and communities is
a necessary first step, achieving this policy objective of
improved and enhanced benefits depends on their capacity
individually and collectively to participate in the
communicative processes of resource management and
governance (Kruger andShannon,2000).

Furthermore, meeting the needs of local people
should be the principal objective of forest management,
and this should be reflected in control and tenure arrangements
(Peluso & Padoch,1996). Poverty-oriented
forestry is concerned with reducing the vulnerability
of the poor by enabling people to continue to have
access to the resources and product flows needed for
subsistence purposes (Warner, 2003).Adetailed assessment
needs to be prepared by, or at least with the
people concerned, in order to identify the complete
range of relationships between the people and forest that
they use and/or manage, the current limitations to their
livelihoods and the potentials and desire for change
(Byron andArnold,1999). Experiences in community-
based forestry demonstrate that a people- centred
approach is viable and effective (Warner,2003).

Some conservationists recommend participatory forest
management over community or state forest management
because participatory forestry enhances
collaboration and understanding between forest communities
and state authorities (e.g.Murphree 1993;
Pokharel, 2000). However, Poffenberger &
Singh (1998) andCampbell etal. (2001) warned
that implementation of participatory forestry can be
difficult, particularly where securing representation on
joint management committees and reaching consensus
on issues such as distribution of benefits to communities
are concerned. Grumbine (1994) and Jacobson
(1995) suggested that these issues can partly be
overcome if resource users and managers are aware of
the forest management goals and practices, and have
positive attitudes towards conservation.

However, denying local people the right to use natural
resources found within a protected area severely reduces
their inclination to support conservation and

often undermines local livelihood security (Pimbert

andPretty 1997).At the root of the relationship bet

ween local people and management authorities lies a