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The struggle over Asia’s forests
An overview of forest conflict and potential implications for REDD+
The management of Asia’s forests affects diverse stakeholders and interests, inevitably resulting in conflict. This study focuses on conflicts between local communities and outsiders: the underlying causes, conflict management approaches, and eventual outcomes. Field data was collected through interviews and focus group discussions in seven community-outsider conflict cases across five countries. While many direct conflict triggers were observed, at least three underlying and interrelated factors enabled conflict: contested statutory and customary tenure, exclusionary conservation and economic development policies, and poor coordination between land use planning agencies. The range of observed conflict management techniques (negotiation, mediation, coercion, avoidance) reflected varying power relationships and political contexts. The techniques’ success in all cases was relatively low due to the complexity of addressing tenure and exclusion issues. The results underline the need to involve local people in the design of the evolving REDD+ mechanism, as well as to ensure their rights and benefits.