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Community forestry is an approach to forest conservation and management in which forest inhabitants participate in management activities and ideally enjoy the economic and livelihood benefits. Community forestry contrasts with exclusionary models of forestry, including logging concessions to large firms and national parks that prohibit most human uses.

Community forestry appeared in the context of three broad social trends. First, there was the late 20th-century context of political change, including the widespread replacement of authoritarian regimes with democracies throughout the world and the rise of neoliberal development policies that encouraged states to decentralize, deregulate, privatize, and generally withdraw from many traditional management activities. Second, the analysis of conservation and forestry projects repeatedly identified social conflicts between managers and forest residents that often jeopardized conservation goals. Third, ...

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