How do societies negotiate the apparently competing agendas of environmental protection and social justice? Why do some countries perform much better than others? Democracy in the Woods answers these questions by explaining the trajectories of forest and land rights – and the fate of forest-dependent peasants – in the forested regions of India, Tanzania, and Mexico.
To organize a comparative inquiry that straddles the fields of comparative politics, historical institutionalism, and policy studies, this book develops a political economy of institutions framework. It shows that differences in structures of political intermediation – venues that help peasant groups and social movements engage in political and policy processes – explain the varying levels of success in combining the pursuits of social justice and environmental conservation. Democracy in the Woods challenges the age-old notion that populist policies produce uniformly deleterious environmental consequences that must be mitigated via centralized systems of environmental regulation. It shows instead that the national leaders and dominant political parties that must compete for popular support in the political arena are more likely to fashion interventions that pursue conservation of forested landscapes without violating the rights of forest-dependent people. Mexico demonstrates the potential for win-win outcomes, India continues to stumble on both environmental and social questions despite longstanding traditions of popular mobilization for forestland rights, and Tanzania's government has failed its forest-dependent people despite a lucrative wildlife tourism sector. Democracy in the Woods's political analysis of the control over and use of nature opens up new avenues for reflecting on nature in the Anthropocene.
"Kashwan's brilliant book offers a multi-scale political analysis of the production of policy for the control and use of nature. He develops a neat and feasible way of analyzing how national forestry regimes come to be and how they act for and on different classes of people. By showing how international campaigns for forest and wildlife conservation entangle with unequal access to policymaking processes, his forward-looking analysis opens up new scales of reflection on nature and justice in the era of global environmental change. This book will be of great interest to students of environmental politics, environmental sociology, environmental anthropology, political ecology, and environmental studies."
– Jesse Ribot, Professor of Geography, University of Illinois
"Kashwan ably applies institutional political economy to explain the political dynamics that shape 'forestland regimes' – a fresh concept that bridges land tenure and control over forest resources. Democracy in the Woods combines multi-level analysis with nuanced cross-national comparison to reveal how historical legacies, the state, local politics and social actors interact to shape conflicts over social equity and environmental conservation."
– Jonathan Fox, author of Accountability Politics: Power and Voice in Rural Mexico and Professor in the School of International Service, American University
"Prakash Kashwan has made a hugely significant contribution to our understanding of the social justice dimensions of environmental policy. By focusing on India, Tanzania and Mexico he brings in the third dimension of economic growth as well giving this book a distinctive niche. Drawing from his extensive field research he enriches the discourse on ecological issues and makes us aware of how such issues are profoundly impacted by political decisions taken in the name of equity and growth. It will appeal to scholars, administrators and the general reader alike.Having been involved with environmental policy-making and implementation in India over the past eight years, I related to his analysis and found myself comparing my own experiences with his findings."
– Jairam Ramesh, former Minister of Environment and Forests, Rural Development 2009-2014 Government of India
List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. The Politics and Political Economy of Forestland Regimes
SECTION I: The Origins and Divergences of National Forestland Regimes
2. Colonialism and the Transformation of Hinterlands
3. Politics of 4. Political Mediation of Land Conflicts in the Hinterlands
SECTION II: Politics of Institutional Change
5. Politics of Institutional Change in India's Forestland Regimes
6. Politics of Institutional Change in Tanzania and Mexico
SECTION III: Policy Differences and Key Lessons
7. Public Accountability in Policy- making: Forest- Based Climate Change Mitigation in India, Tanzania, and Mexico
8. Conclusion: Toward Social Justice and Enduring Nature Conservation
Appendix I: Number of People Affected by Forestland Conflicts
Appendix II: A Sample of Specific Events Related to Forestland Conflicts
Appendix III: Major Socioeconomic and Political Indicators in Case Study Countries
Appendix IV: Inequality- Adjusted Human Development Index for Selected Regions
Appendix V: Statistical Analysis of Forestland Claims in Gujarat, India
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Prakash Kashwan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut.