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Deconstructing the Harda Experience

The Harda experience initiated in the early 1990s suggests that the participatory forestry experience has been neither an unqualified success nor an unmitigated failure. The findings in this paper point to the fact that despite 10 years of collaborative forest management the hierarchical and unequal relationship between the state and local people has not changed in many places. As shown by the Harda experience, the bureaucratic mode of participation encouraged by the state fosters an inequality that has drawn criticism from tribal organisations. The conflict manifests itself in everyday issues that arise in the implementation of participatory forest management within the inherently hierarchical social structure and a development paradigm still dominated by a relatively unaccountable and paternalistic state.

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