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Title:The black diamond of Tambacounda: charcoal, representation and decentralized development in the forests of eastern Senegal
Author(s):Jusrut, Poonam Vanee
Director of Research:Ribot, Jesse
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ribot, Jesse
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kalipeni, Ezekiel; Dill, Brian; Walters, Gretchen; Bandiaky, Solange
Department / Program:Geography & Geographic InfoSci
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Institutional choice and recognition
forest management projects
forest resources
international development
elite capture
rural Senegal
theory of access
local government
Abstract:The extent to which inhabitants in Rural Communities in Senegal are able to derive benefits from natural resources located in their zones may be largely contingent upon their ability to ask for what they are entitled to. Gaining more political clout in order to make claims to their fair share of access to their forests requires local community members to act more like citizens rather than subjects who have to endure imposed forms of government. The 1996 wave of decentralization placed forest management decision making in the hands the democratically local elected government, the Rural Councils that would henceforth act as the representative of populations in the Rural Communities. The 1998 modifications made to the Forestry Code permitted the commercial exploitation of forests through the mandatory application of a technical document, called the Forest Management Plan. In order to assist the underfunded and unresourced Rural Councils and to make the exploitation of forests more participatory as well as environmentally sustainable, two projects: the World Bank's PROGEDE and USAID's Wula Nafaa were implemented. The projects produced the Forest Management Plans and introduced new institutions, Forest Management Committees that would function. In this set of three papers, I examined institutional processes around access to forest resources, that is, the ability to derive benefits mainly from wood-based charcoal production and commerce in the in the Tambacounda region. Using the Ribot, Chhatre and Lankina's (2008) Choice and Recognition framework, I explored the conditions under which higher-level institutions like the central government and international development agencies chose and recognized the local institutional partners they did. The type of institutions chosen to manage and regulate the forest and the charcoal sector at the local level influenced the patterns of engagement with recognized authorities and the distribution of access to lucrative charcoal sector among the villagers. Participation involving democratic elements or democratic institutional infrastructure is believed to allow for participation from members of society who otherwise might not possess the advantage of being socio-economically or politically 'equipped' to participate in decision-making settings and processes that make their representation binding or adequate. It was found that the choice and recognition process took place over various arenas at the higher level and I identified a set of attributes that are factored in the choice and recognition of local institutions. The second paper brings out how the institutional choices made higher up unfolded on the ground using the example of gender-focused action of projects in a decentralized forest management context. I examined how institutional set-ups affect a historically marginalized group such as women with respect to their participation in a male-dominated livelihood earning sector like charcoal. Constrictive aspects of their social roles and economic precariousness intersects with elite capture of charcoal sector, creating a greater barrier for poorer, non-elite women to break through as charcoal producers or charcoal entrepreneurs. The third paper showed the ways in which institutional choice and recognition opened the gates for elite capture, whereby a disproportionate amount of benefits from charcoal production and trade is appropriated by a small group of people possessing access qualifications, that is, social, political, economic advantages allowing them to dominate. The flaring up of charcoal niche elite capture within the Rural Communities has implications for the asymmetries in the level of development between the urban and the rural parts of the country. When significant amounts of revenue derived from a common local resource accrue to only a few elites in the Rural Communities, it becomes more profitable to invest large amounts in urban zones, thus depleting the rural areas of locally generated wealth. This study drew largely from the qualitative data from interviews, observation and questionnaire surveys collected during fieldwork extending from the beginning of 2012 to mid-2013. The main conceptual framework guiding this research was Ribot, Chhatre and Lankina's (2008) Institutional Choice and Recognition with additional analytical lenses relevant to the questions being answered used each of the three papers.
Issue Date:2016-06-07
Rights Information:No part/s of this thesis can be reproduced in any format or modified without the author's prior authorization
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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