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Institutional and Livelihood Changes in East African Forest Landscapes

Decentralization and Institutional Change for Sustainable Forest Management in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia

Edited By Franz Gatzweiler

This book presents research articles and essays which analyze the consequences of decentralization on forest conditions and livelihoods in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Authors from the East African collaborative research centers of the International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) Research Program demonstrate that the institutional changes resulting from decentralization create costs for those who need to re-institutionalize and re-organize the management of forest and land resources. This requires investment into information, communication, education and into the re-building of social capital. Cases in which collective action has worked and contributed to improving livelihoods and forest conditions can be exemplary, while failures can be equally useful for learning about East Africa and beyond.

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Introduction: Decentralization, Institutional Change and Learning for Sustainable Forest Management in Eastern Africa: Franz W. Gatzweiler and Emily Obonyo

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1 Introduction Decentralization, Institutional Change and Learning for Sustainable Forest Management in Eastern Africa Franz W. Gatzweiler and Emily Obonyo Centralization as a precondition for decentralization To understand the meaning of decentralization, it is necessary to understand the importance of centralization under different types of institutions first. In addi- tion, particularly for African countries, the concept of a state-nation and the difficult trajectory from state to nation-building (Joseph, 2003) are core issues which need to be addressed in order to fully understand the challenges of decen- tralization for sustainable forest management in East Africa. The need to under- stand the history of indigenous political institutions thus becomes crucial if we are to attempt to understand the structure of contemporary African states and the complexity of institution building. The history of African pre-colonial societies especially in Sub-Saharan Afri- ca has largerly been ignored or hidden behind ‘myths’, and often regarded as devoid of any civilization (Mahtar- Mbow, 1999; Diop, 1974; Gump). However, the history of Africa north of the Sahara including the Egyptian and Nubian civilization is better known mainly because of its links with the mediteranean and the writings of ancient Greek travellers who stumbled upon these civiliza- tions and surviving transcriptions from ancient Egyptian/Nubian architecture (Brooks-Bertram, 1994). Slave trade and colonialism also contributed widely to the disintegration of communities, thus destroying some important historical facts leading to misconceptions about Africa’s socio-cultural and socio-political set- tings. Southern Africa’s history for instance is depicted by many historians by quick reference to...

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