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Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais

Print version ISSN 0102-6909


MEDINA, Gabriel. Local governance for forest management in the Amazon. Rev. bras. Ci. Soc. [online]. 2012, vol.27, n.78, pp.67-79. ISSN 0102-6909.

Amazonian communities can greatly benefit from the forest resources they hold by setting up community-governed management systems that reflect their interests and capacities. However, communities face three challenges: to develop the systems, to enforce them, and to have their systems acknowledged by the wider society. This study, carried out in the Bolivian, Brazilian, and Peruvian Amazon, revealed that community-governed systems emerge in an attempt to restrict access by external actors to locally valuable resources. Detached and conflicting relationships with external actors are a crucial factor driving communities to get organized. Alliances with powerful partners, such as environmental organizations, support communities to get their systems acknowledged. These findings suggest that autonomous (in contrast to dependent) relationships with external actors are fundamental for local development.

Keywords : Community-governed forest management; Amazon frontier; Social movements; Endogenous development.

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