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The Complex Forest: Communities, Uncertainty, and Adaptive Collaborative Management

By: Carol J Pierce Colfer

370 pages, Figs, tabs

Johns Hopkins University Press

Paperback | Dec 2005 | #152185 | ISBN: 1933115130
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NHBS Price: £21.50 $26/€24 approx
Hardback | Sep 2005 | #152184 | ISBN: 1933115122
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NHBS Price: £43.50 $53/€49 approx

About this book

The Complex Forest systematically examines the theory, processes, and early outcomes of a research and management approach called adaptive collaborative management (ACM). An alternative to positivist approaches to development and conservation that assume predictability in forest management, ACM acknowledges the complexity and unpredictability inherent in any forest community and the importance of developing solutions together with the forest peoples whose lives will be most affected by the outcomes. Building on earlier work that established the importance of flexible, collaborative approaches to sustainable forest management, The Complex Forest describes the work of ACM practitioners facing a broad range of challenges in diverse settings and attempts to identify the conditions under which ACM is most effective. Case studies of ACM in 30 forest sites in 11 countries together with Colfer's systematic comparison of results at each site indicate that human and institutional capabilities have been strengthened. In Zimbabwe, for example, the number of women involved in decisionmaking soared. In Nepal, community members detected and sanctioned dishonest community elites. In Cameroon and Bolivia, learning programs resulted in better conflict management. These are early results, but a wide range of recent research supports Colfer's belief that these new capabilities will ultimately raise incomes and lead to sustainable improvements in the health of forests and forest peoples.

'A significant contribution because of the richness of its material, its critique of simplistic approaches to understanding factors in forest management, its clear and compelling writing style, and the range and significance of the sites that it studies.' Diane Russell, Senior Scientist, World Agroforestry Centre

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Carol J. Pierce Colfer is a team leader of the CIFOR program on Local People, Devolution, and Adaptive Collaborative Management of Forests. She is a coeditor of People Managing Forests: The Links between Human Well-Being and Sustainability and Which Way Forward: People, Forests, and Policymaking in Indonesia.

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