This paper is divided into six chapters. The first introduces the central issue under investigation: the hypothesized relation between devolution of authority over natural resources and the sustainable exploitation of those resources. This chapter also provides a discussion of the research methodology employed in the course of the investigation. Chapters 2 and 3 constitute a unit compiling a broad composite of social and (to a lesser degree) physical traits relevant to locally prevailing resource exploitation practices and patterns. Thus chapter 2 consists of a detailed physical and social profile of the site of Baban Rafi, while chapter 3 focuses on past and present resource use and tenure systems. Chapters 4 and 5 address the broad institutional issues that, it is argued, will substantially determine the potential for success of policies based on devolution of forest resource use and management rights. Such issues include present and past legislation and policy, the nature and strength of state structures, state-civil society relations, social structures and organization, intercultural relations, and markets. Chapter 4 describes the institutional and policy environment from a national perspective, while chapter 5 investigates the composition and impact of institutions at the site of Baban Rafi. Chapter 6 summarizes the findings and states the conclusions of the study. This chapter comments especially on policy issues and warns of the potential dangers inherent in the uncritical translation of theory into policy.


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