Posted by: Christian | May 9, 2009

Academic Reading Recommendation #1

I’ll try to make this a regular thing: picking out an academic article or book chapter as recommended reading. First up is this article:

Sarah Southwold-Llewellyn, ‘Devolution of Forest Management: A Cautionary Case of Pukhtun [Pashtun] Jirgas in Dispute Settlements’, Human Ecology (2006) Vol. 34: pages 637–653. Download PDF.

Southwold-Llewellyn, a social/economic anthropologist, writes about the use of local jirgas (in Pakistan) in managing forest resources. And if you think “So what?” Then you probably haven’t heard the anecdotes of disputes over forests playing a role in violent conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

An excerpt:

Under the management of local jirgas the extent of forest exploitation is less than in many other areas where the [central government] Forest Department has greater control. This is not to say that jirgas maintain sustainable forest management. Rather, they address the contradictions between conservation and livelihood needs. More fundamentally, the examples of both jirga and community-based management should raise the question whether the assumption that devolution will lead to better livelihoods and sustainable resource use is correct.


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