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Title: Forest governance and development : meandering paradigms in the Bolivian lowlands
Author: Peredo-Videa, Bernardo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 3369
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Forest conservation is an economic, environmental and social process. It is also a political and cultural process in developing nations, characterised by being the richest regions in biodiversity but also the poorest economically. Paradoxically, whilst forest management provides substantial socio-economic and environmental benefits, local people have not often received benefits resulting from these processes. This would be the case of Bolivia, one of the poorest nations in Latin America with indigenous communities amongst the most vulnerable groups, but also one of the richest countries in terms of forest and biological diversity, especially within the Tropical Andes Hotspot. However, the country is also considered to be a deforestation hotspot since the implementation of structural adjustment programmes in the mid-1990s. Although reforms to the forestry legal framework have been accompanied by a series of institutional changes initiated in 1997, the results show that such legal, policy and institutional frameworks have not been able to respond to the increasing deforestation rates and illegal logging. In the absence of forest governance structures, including strengthened institutions, regulatory systems, comprehensive sustainable development plans and the persistence of land tenure insecurity, the implementation of effective initiatives in larger scales to overcome current deforestation rates appears challenging. Current political arguments are questioning the role of previous economic reforms and new conceptions on the role of forests. Natural resources are becoming a priority in the present state-led development agenda, which has criticised the previous neoliberal era for its negative economic, social and environmental impacts. Nonetheless, new threats may arise to forest conservation due to aggressive State development policies and the expansion of the agricultural frontier. This dissertation sets out to first analyse the causes of deforestation at a broader level of understanding than just the field scale through different development periods and over contemporary policy shifts and, secondly, to evaluate the success and challenges of sustainable alternatives for forest conservation, specifically timber exports, ecotourism development, and proposed reduced deforestation and degradation schemes in Bolivia. The research approaches include a focus on the dynamics of forest governance by examining the role and interplay of institutional frameworks, the legal and regulatory systems, land rights and tenure, and development policies and projects implemented by the Bolivian government, as well as the role of markets in driving demand for forest products in land-use change, deforestation and proposed forest-based alternatives. This thesis contributes to understanding the influence of these factors as underlying causes of deforestation in Bolivia and how these causes are interlinked with development theories, political and economic structures and policy shifts, and the opportunities and challenges for forest-based alternatives to provide economic and environmental benefits to grassroots and indigenous organisations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available