Decentralization of Forest Management in Southwest China

He, Jun (2012) Decentralization of Forest Management in Southwest China. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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China’s decentralization has been recognized internationally, as it has arguably made significant contributions to rapid economic growth and social development in the past three decades. However, the impact of decentralization on resource management is more ambiguous and less studied. Given the largely negative environmental outcomes of economic growth, it is critical to ask why decentralization has not fostered environmental sustainability in China, even as it has facilitated socio-economic development.

This research aims to improve theoretical and empirical understandings of natural resource decentralization by taking forest decentralization reform in China as a case. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, it examines the effects of decentralization on forest management as well as the interactive processes between policies and local institutional dynamics which have shaped decentralization and conditioned its outcomes. By an interdisciplinary strategy, the study employs a multi-scale approach that includes the collection of data from a wide range of involved actors extending from the central government to local communities and from multiple sectors to generate a holistic picture of forest governance in China.

From the research findings, it is clear that forest decentralization in China has been established in law but not in practice. Governance reforms set up a wide range of governance constraints which limit downward accountability and sufficient power transfers to lower-level administrative bodies. The research also argues the critical role of the local state, which plays not only mediator role between state and society, but also struggles with the central state for power. Meanwhile, the exercise of knowledge-based power in the form of scientific forest management undermines the possibility of potential power transfers to local people. These findings carry important implications for policy and further research on decentralization in theory and practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Depositing User: Users 5605 not found.
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2013 09:46
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 01:38


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