ABSTRACT

The rights agenda in forestry includes a demand for participation of forest people in political decision-making regarding their own affairs. Forest rights activists thus demand not only redistribution of forest benefits and tenure to ensure equity, but also equitable access to decision-making space (see Chapter 1 of this volume). However, such a vision of democratization of forest governance is not easily realized as it faces a critical challenge of transforming deeply entrenched power relations at local level that lead to disproportionate appropriation of resources and decision-making space by some. Given the histories of exclusion of forest people, forest rights activists have focused more on unequal power relations between state and local communities and less on unequal power relations within communities.