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Competing Visions: Domestic forests, politics and forest policy in the Central Western Ghats of South India

Menon A., Hinnewinkel C., Garcia C.A., Guillerme S., Rai N., Krishnan S.. 2009. Small-Scale Forestry, 8 (4) : p. 515-527.

Rural people in developing countries including India continue to access a number of types of 'forests' to meet specific needs such as fuelwood, fodder, food, non-timber forest produce and timber for both subsistence and income generation. While a plethora of terms exist to describe the types of forests that rural people use-such as farm forests, social forests, community forests and small-scale forests- the expression domestic forest has recently been proposed. Domestic forest is a term aimed at capturing the diversity of forests transformed and managed by rural communities and a way to introduce a new scientific domain that recognises that production and conservation can be reconciled and that local communities can be effective managers. This paper argues in the context of the central Western Ghats of south India that while the domestic forest concept is a useful umbrella term to capture the diversity of forests used by rural people, these domestic forests are often not autonomous local forests but sites of contestation between local actors and the state forest bureaucracy. Hence, a paradigm shift within the forest bureaucracy will only occur if the scientific forestry community questions its own normative views on forest management and sees forest policy as a means to recognise local claims and support existing practices of forest dependent communities. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : conservation des forêts; typologie; terminologie; communauté rurale; décentralisation; politique forestière; aménagement forestier; forêt; inde

Thématique : Foresterie - Considérations générales; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières

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