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This text is built around case studies of the effects of devolution policies on the management of forests in several Asian countries. The studies show that, contrary to the aim of such policies, they increased governmental control over the management of local resources, and at lower cost. They also demonstrate that if genuine control is to be exercised by local resource users for their livelihoods, more has to be done to take their needs into account and to diversify the range of interests represented and the opportunities for creating livelihoods from the local resources.