Special issue on the governance of forests, forest products and markets
• 大类 : 农林科学 - 2区
• 小类 : 林学 - 2区
Aside from straight-forward greed-based assumptions, resource curse dynamics in Sub-Sahara Africa supposedly are fueled by socio-political, institutional and cultural idiosyncrasies: (A) Resource wealth combined with (B) insufficiently stabilized Weberian institutions and purportedly archaic forms of power and wealth distribution, (C) in a context of societal organization along rigid ethnic divides. Consequent institutional, social and economic underdevelopment is said to lock African polities in trajectories of instability or maladapted stagnancy, ultimately hampering an effective and equitable integration into the globalized economy. Together, all these aspects of the African version of the resource curse putatively result in unsustainable mechanisms of grievance mitigation, foster greed, precipitate oppressive rule and finally violent conflict. We argue that this interpretation falls short of unbundling the complexity of resource conflicts. That can even have an adverse impact on the activation and design of sustainable resource-linked peacebuilding processes on the African continent.
We further argue that a lack of structural, systemic approaches has led to several decades of research, development cooperation and peacebuilding efforts that primarily pay attention to the management of highly priced resources as engines of or threats to human development and sustained peace. For example, we believe that tropical timber, which is mainly traded in large bulk - with profit margins derived from economies of scale rather than from scarcity value - has not garnered the attention it deserves as a conflict resource. This despite its immense importance for the global economy and contrary to the by now many examples of violent conflict with a timber trade-related financial component.
Likewise, non-timber forest products and forests more generally are not adequately studied in terms of
conflict and development on the African continent, despite the widely accepted fact that forests play a vital role in continued human survival in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. Thus, sub-Saharan African forests themselves are a resource that contributes much more to continued human existence and prosperity than as a source of GDP alone. In turn, the pathways by which forests in that part of the world become a factor in justifying and sustaining structural and physical violence, may well be much more significant, diverse and complex than is the case with more treasured and studied resources such as precious stones and rare earths.
In tying together contributions, the Guest Editors draw upon critical peacebuilding scholarship, development theory and innovative institutional analysis frameworks. In addition, we request contributions that address or propose paradigm shifts on forest governance, economics and conflict. For empirical articles, we call for contributions that employ either of two analytical thrusts; 'problemsolving' approaches, which focus on improving governance tools within existing paradigms as well as 'radical' peacebuilding approaches. These employ anti-colonial as-well as post-colonial frameworks to analyze forest resource governance, economics and conflict. Contributions should demonstrate a recognition of the role that systemic outward linkages and their historic, institutional evolution may play today.
Nature of contributions and target audience
The special issue presents a multi-disciplinary platform for scholars, practitioners and policy experts seeking to advance international tropical forest governance, use and economics. We encourage all interested researchers, for example from the diverse and related fields of social anthropology, geography, political science, conflict and development studies, economics as-well as forestry to contribute to this multi-disciplinary analysis. We equally welcome contributions from natural resource management practitioners and policy makers in Africa and beyond. This multi-level dimension will advance scientific debates by enhancing our understanding of linked processes and social impacts that supply and demand sides of tropical forestry have in Sub-Saharan Africa. With this perspective, which is rooted in paradigms of critical security, conflict and development studies, the special issue thereby opens up a relatively less tackled dimension of FORPOL's core topic of forest policy and economics.