Forests, people and power: the political ecology of reform in South Asia


Forests, people and power examines aspects of reform in forest management policy in three Indian states (West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh) and two regions of Nepal (the mid-hills and the plains). Based on research and field practice spanning all levels, from households to key policy-makers, the book examines:

  • the livelihood impacts of the different strategies for implementing participatory forest management in the two countries;
  • how different policy, legal and administrative frameworks of forest management affect livelihoods, especially those of the poor;
  • the extent to which various claims and aspirations for participatory forest management have been fulfilled, and the main opportunities and constraints;
  • the main factors facilitating or inhibiting the sort of participatory forest management that enhances livelihoods; the ecological impacts of participatory forest management.

Data were collected from over 60 study villages and over 1 000 household interviews,

With tens of millions of hectares and hundreds of millions of lives in the balance, the debate over who should control South Asia’s forests is of great political significance. Delving into issues of power and politics in forestry, this book provides an insightful and thorough assessment of important forest management transitions currently under way. It explores the difficulties of transforming age-old structures that circumscribe the access of the poor to forests and their resources, and challenges assumptions of the benefits of participatory forest management and the role of forestry in poverty reduction.


London, UK, Earthscan, ISBN 978-1-84407-347-4.

Forests, people and power: the political ecology of reform in South Asia

Published 1 January 2007