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Title: L'Okoumé, fils du manioc : post-logging in remote rural forest areas of Gabon and its long-term impacts on development and the environment
Author: Hymas, O. R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 2174
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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Development and conservation theory use a chain of logic to suggest that timber industries bring long-term development to rural areas at the expense of the environment. This logic chain assumes that the arrival of industry and their transport infrastructure in an un‐exploited area creates employment opportunities that result in economic development which attracts migrants and the commodification of agricultural and forest products. However, this chain does not factor in historic natural resource exploitation before the arrival of timber companies, nor what occurs after their departure. This thesis proposes an alternative chain of logic which incorporates these two. By using historic literature, social and ecological methods, this alternative is explored in Gabon, where 60% of roads are logging roads and 44% of its forests are timber concessions. The long history of exploitation of natural resources has resulted in the local extinction of species which have then recovered, while any resulting development has been one of booms and busts. Two sets of sites, where transport infrastructure had been created by timber companies, demonstrate the repercussions of the departure of companies. Only in the less remote sites was it found that commercial bushmeat hunting occurred. In the remote sites transport infrastructure had collapsed, livelihoods had reverted to subsistence activities, migrants had left, while education levels were worse. In one remote village animal signs were higher than in a remote village that had never been logged. These findings correspond with Von Thünen's classic theory on land use and access. By overlooking the drawbacks of the accepted chain of logic, misleading blanket assumptions have been created. This can contribute to project failure. Assumption drag has been created not only due to a lack of a multidisciplinary approach but also because research is usually only carried out while timber operations are occurring.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available