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Title: The marginalisation of an orphan species : examining bamboo's fit within international forestry institutions
Author: Buckingham, Kathleen
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis presents an examination of the interplay between bamboo and institutions of resource management in China, India and internationally, highlighting the need for greater diversity and scope of Western dominated forestry institutions and associated mechanisms. Firstly, the thesis aims to explore the conceptual understanding of forests and the exclusion of bamboo from this construction. The key reason this question is important is that it changes the 'technological zones‘ of forestry. Growing resource scarcity has meant that bamboo is now an increasingly important input in the global forest products marketplace. Secondly, the thesis aims to examine how governance mechanisms and actors respond to the inclusion of this new input. The thesis adopts the 'paper route'; the first paper traces the socio-historical reasons why bamboo‘s potential is yet to be realised, particularly within international policy. It considers the challenges of forestry being predominantly conceptualised as treed lands and the implications for the limited efficacy of sustainable forestry, carbon and trade instruments when applied to bamboo. The second paper acts as an introduction to Western produced forest certification devices, focusing on their transformation within forestry institutions and perceived legitimacy within China. The third paper focuses on a case study of bamboo certification in India. The final paper analyses the controversy regarding the efficacy of forest certification for bamboo globally. The thesis aims to explore these topics through three lines of theory. First, it contributes to institutional framing theory by examining where the idea of a 'forest' originated from and the consequences this has had for the rise of bamboo as a 'timber' product. Second, the thesis aims to further legitimacy theory in two key ways, by examining how the Chinese government accommodates and facilitates the differing needs of both international and domestic markets, whilst ultimately assuming a legitimate form of (institutionalised) domestic governance, and how the perceived input (procedure) and output (efficacy) legitimacy influence the potential success of current and future forest certification for bamboo. Third, the thesis seeks to provide a dynamic analysis of the role of certification through the lens of performativity, which uncovers how certification can create different realities for different actors. This thesis is timely and important for a number of reasons. Firstly, China is gaining more prominence on the world stage, both as an economic and political power. With increased pressure on forestry resources, the forestry administration is determined to upscale sustainable forest management. This requires adhering to global notions of sustainability thorough market mechanisms and ensuring a degree of autonomy of forest management through localising processes. Secondly, China recently received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) bamboo certification for some of the most intensively managed areas in the country. This has increased controversy amongst experts regarding the efficacy of the mechanism to truly bring about sustainable bamboo management. Thirdly, on a more global scale, one of the crucial issues with up-scaling bamboo management is the fact that there are over 1,200 species of bamboo, with three different rooting structures: monopodial (diffuse) sympodial (clumping), and amphodial (mixed) – which have distinct policy and management needs. Focusing purely on the large-scale, intensively managed, monopodial or treelike' stands in China would ignore the vast areas of small-scale, sympodial bamboo homesteads with issues regarding flowering and propagation of sterile species. Bamboo plantations in Africa, Latin America, and India are being developed, which require enabling policy and management mechanisms. With a global industry estimated at US$10bn, the implications of an inclusive and enabling frame for bamboo management could have wide ranging impacts for both natural resource management and livelihood development.
Supervisor: Jepson, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bamboo ; Forests and forestry--China ; Forests and forestry--India ; Forest management ; Sustainable forestry--Economic aspects