1st Edition

Forests and People Property, Governance, and Human Rights

Edited By Thomas Sikor, Johannes Stahl Copyright 2011

    A human rights-based agenda has received significant attention in writings on general development policy, but less so in forestry. Forests and People presents a comprehensive analysis of the rights-based agenda in forestry, connecting it with existing work on tenure reform, governance rights and cultural rights.  

    As the editors note in their introduction, the attention to rights in forestry differs from 'rights-based approaches' in international development and other natural resource fields in three critical ways. First, redistribution is a central demand of activists in forestry but not in other fields. Many forest rights activists call for not only the redirection of forest benefits but also the redistribution of forest tenure to redress historical inequalities. Second, the rights agenda in forestry emerges from numerous grassroots initiatives, setting forest-related human rights apart from approaches that derive legitimacy from transnational human rights norms and are driven by international and national organizations. Third, forest rights activists attend to individual as well as peoples' collective rights whereas approaches in other fields tend to emphasize one or the other set of rights. 

    Forests and People is a timely response to the challenges that remain for advocates as new trends and initiatives, such as market-based governance, REDD, and a rush to biofuels, can sometimes seem at odds with the gains from what has been a two decade expansion of forest peoples' rights. It explores the implications of these forces, and generates new insights on forest governance for scholars and provides strategic guidance for activists.

    1. Introduction: The Rights-Based Agenda in International Forestry  Part 1: Global Perspectives  2. The Global Forest Tenure Transition: Background, Substance, and Prospects  3. Indigenous Peoples' Rights and the Jurisprudence of the Inter-American Human Rights System  4. Human Rights-Based Approaches to Conservation Promise, Progress... and Pitfalls?  Part 2: What Claims Find Support?  5. Affirmative Policy on an Uneven Playing Field: Implications for REDD  6. Advancing Human Rights Through Community Forestry in Nepal  7. Forest Devolution and Social Differentiation in Vietnam  Part 3: Whose Claims Are Considered to Constitute Rights?  8. The Challenges of Developing a Rights-based Approach to Conservation in Indonesia  9. Rights Evolution and Contemporary Forest Activism in the New Forest, England  10. Advocating for Traditional Native American Gathering Rights on US Forest Service Lands  Part 4: What Authorities Recognize Forest People's Rights?  11. Who Represents the Collective? Authority and the Recognition of Forest Rights  12. Tenure Rights, Environmental Interests, and the Politics of Local Government in Romania  Part 5: What Political Strategies Serve Rights Recognition by the State?  13. Women's Action and Democratic Spaces Across Scales in India  14. Building Coalitions Across Sectors and Scales in Cambodia  15. Forest Based Social Movements in Latin America  16. A Way forward: Forest Rights in Times of REDD+.  Index


    Thomas Sikor has conducted research on forest tenure and politics over the past two decades, including fieldwork in Vietnam, Albania, and Romania. He holds a PhD in Energy and Resources from the University of California at Berkeley and currently is Reader in International Development at the University of East Anglia. Sikor has guest-edited a number of special journal issues and books on topics ranging from community and land reform to property theory. In his activist work, he promotes the expansion of economic, political and cultural rights to disadvantaged people in Vietnam. 

    Johannes Stahl works on natural resource governance and institutions in agriculture and forestry. He holds PhD and MA degrees in Agriculture and Social Anthropology and was a Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow in Natural Resource Economics and Political Economy at the University of California at Berkeley from 2007 to 2009. Stahl's research has examined forest use practices and institutions in Bolivia and Albania. He lives and works in Montreal, Canada.