Course by Partners of ISEE2012 Post-Rio+20

Practices, power, and knowledge in participatory forest management
Summer School organised by
The Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group (FNP)
Program for Law and Environment -­‐ Getúlio Vargas Foundation

A UNCSD Learning Centre
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
June 23-­‐30, 2012

Anchor Teacher: Prof. dr. Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan, USA

Prof. dr. Bas Arts
Dr. Virgílio Gibbon
Prof. dr. Peter May
Dr. Sailaja Nandigama
Dr. Marcelo R Lennertz
Dr. Paulo de Meira Lins
Dr. Esther Turnhout
Dr. Sven Wunder

For a complete brochure with course introduction, objectives, registration information and programme schedule click here.

Course Introduction and Objectives

Forests have always been at the centre of the global environmental, climate and biodiversity debates –­ both for their continued resourcefulness for timber, non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and biodiversity conservation as well as for being providers of ecosystem services needed for the everyday survival of human and non-­human species. Forest conservation in general and community-­based participatory forest management practices in particular have become vital in sustaining the conservation and regeneration of forest-­‐based resources, especially so in the context of ever-raising concerns around sustainable livelihoods, climate change and related socio-­‐ecological dynamics like soil erosion, famines, fires and floods. This not only applies to forest management in the ‘global South’’, but to the ‘global North’ as well.

At the level of policy design and implementation, issues around resource and land use practices, power and knowledge, institutional dynamics, and recent trends towards economic instruments for ecosystem services and certification have become core concerns to grapple with. Participation and the inclusion of non-state actors are considered essential in dealing with these concerns. Participatory forest management is used by states, non-state actors and bi-lateral institutions all over the world as a major tool to engage in sustainable management of forest resources. These interventions aim to accommodate the interests, practices and knowledge of forest dependent people in forest governance and decision-making processes. However, three sets of challenges stand out in this process. The first challenge is concerned with accommodating the often competing claims of knowledge around practices of forest management by the locals and the specialists. In particular, this relates to the tensions between scientific, expert-based knowledge and associated technocratic forms of planning and local, customary practices based on lay forms of knowledge and experience. The second major challenge is in devising ways of surpassing and/or accommodating the asymmetric power relations that characterize the interactions within and across communities and various actors who perform the forest management at various levels. The third, and by no means the final challenge is finding a balance between the livelihood concerns of the forest dependent communities on the one hand and the larger meta-concerns of global ecological crisis and bio-diversity conservation on the other through the adoption of sustainable environmental governance practices at various levels. These socio-ecological and local-global dynamics play a major role in regulating the scale and extent of participatory forest management processes as well as the outcomes in the long run.

This summer school addresses these inter-linkages between participatory practices, power and knowledge by means of presenting relevant theories and concepts complemented by empirical examples of forest management practices from various parts of the world. The scope and content of this course directly complements cutting-edge research in related fields such as Natural Resource Management (NRM), climate change, Payments for Environmental Services (PES), Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and certification. The core idea is to have lectures and master classes of well-known academics in this field together with highly motivated and talented PhDs and Post-docs, and practitioners from all over the world.

Topics to be discussed are:

  • State of the art in theories of 1) power, 2) knowledge and expertise, 3) practice, and 4) participation and community based forest management
  • The different forms of participatory forest management in various contexts
  • The different intended and unintended implications of participatory forest management
  • The role of development aid and interventions in local communities
  • The interactions between formal and informal institutions, discourses and practices in participatory forest management
  • The role of economic instruments for ecosystem services provision and poverty alleviation

Target group and learning outcomes

We aim to bring in a maximum of 50 talented and highly motivated PhD fellows, Post-Doc researchers, and practitioners from across the world as participants for this summer school. After participating in this summer school, the participants are supposed to be –

  • Acquainted with several state-of-the-art social science theories and concepts on PFM
  • Able to apply them in participatory forest management research
  • Able to link them to concrete forest management practices
  • Able to develop different (policy) options and discuss their implications
  • Able to engage in methodological debates around practice-based approaches in doing research and studying forest management
  • Able to critically reflect on the different intended and unintended consequences of participatory approaches to forest management

Assumed prior knowledge

Participants are expected to have a minimum level of knowledge and expertise in using various qualitative and quantitative methods related to research around participatory forest management/natural resource management; and are expected to bring with them a summary/a piece (1000 words max.) of writing of their own current field of research.

Course fees

  • For the PhD participants from the developing countries, and PhDs of WASS, CERES and FGV the summer school fee is €500;
  • For Post-Docs, practitioners, fellows and staff members from universities situated in developing countries, the summer school fee is €800;
  • For the developed country PhD participants the fee is €800;
  • For practitioners, Post-doc fellows and staff members from the developed countries, the summer school fee is € 1000.

The fee covers costs of registration, coffee/tea and lunches during sessions, field trip costs, course materials and a course dinner for all the participants. Accommodation, travel and other related costs are not included in the fee. FGV will provide information on hotel accommodation upon request.

Important information: All participants of the FNP &FGV summer school will be offered a reduction of €100 in their fee, if they are also participating in the Political Ecology (PE) course offered by The Graduate School of International Development Studies, Roskilde University and Centre for Forests, Landscape and Planning, University of Copenhagen(4-8 June, 2012). The organisers of the PE course also give a reduction of € 50 for these participants. Reduced fees are available only for those who participate in both the courses. Click this web link for more information on PE course in Copenhagen

Fellowships/travel grants

A limited number of fellowships/travel grants are available for FNP& FGV summer school participants registered in Universities/Institutes of developing countries.

Preparatory time: 2 weeks of self-reading and 1 week of attending lectures and interactive sessions.
Course contribution: 3 ECTS
Time schedule: 23rd June 2012 to 30th June 2012


Registration is possible electronically via the attached application form. Send the completely filled application form to the course coordinator, Dr. Sailaja Nandigama

The extended deadline for sending your filled application is 15th May 2012.

For a complete brochure with course introduction, objectives, registration information and programme schedule click here.

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