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Fuelwood territorialities: Chantier d'Aménagement Forestier and the reproduction of "political forests" in Burkina Faso

Côte M., Gautier D.. 2018. Geographica Helvetica, 73 (2) : p. 165-175.

DOI: 10.5194/gh-73-165-2018

This paper investigates the endurance of a national forest management programme in Burkina Faso called Chantier d'Aménagement Forestier (CAF), which focuses on the participatory sustainable production of fuelwood and is widely supported by international donors despite evidence of its shortcomings. We analyse the surprising persistence of the CAF model as a case of the territorialisation of state power through the reproduction of political forests ¿ drawing on the work of Peluso and Vandergeest (2001, 2011). Analysing some the shortcomings and incoherencies of the model, we bring to light the role of non-state actors in the reproduction of the CAF as a political forest. We show that informal regulatory arrangements have emerged between state and non-state actors, namely merchants and customary authorities, over the production of fuelwood. We call these arrangements fuelwood territorialities because they have contributed to keeping the CAF's resource model unquestioned. With fuelwood territorialities, we draw attention to the role of non-state actors in the reproduction of political forests, that is, the process of state territorialisation through forest governance. This analysis helps clarify how certain areas, such as the CAFs, keep being officially represented as forest even though they are dominated by a patchwork of fields, fallows, and savannahs and do not have the ecological characteristics of one.

Mots-clés : burkina faso

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