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The Equitable Forest: diversity and community in sustainable resource management.

Edited by Carol J. Pierce Colfer. 1616 P Street NW, Washington D.C. 20036-1400: RFF Press, 2005. (202) 328-5086. ISBN 1-1891853-78-3. 331 pp. $29.95 Paperback.

The Equitable Forest offers an alternative to traditional, externally organized strategies for forest management. The approach described in The Equitable Forest, termed "adaptive collaborative management" (ACM), tries to better acknowledge the diversity, complexity, and unpredictability of human and natural systems. ACM works to strengthen local institutions and to use the knowledge and capacity of groups in local communities to enhance the health and well-being of both forests and the people who live in and around them.

The Equitable Forest provides a detailed explanation of the descriptive, analytical, and methodological tools of ACM, along with accounts of the early stages of its implementation in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Although the contributors make it clear that it is too soon to evaluate the efficacy of ACM, their work is supported by evidence that rural communities do make important contributions when involved in formal forest management, that management strategies are most effective when flexible and tailored to local contexts, and that efforts by outside governmental and nongovernmental organizations to support local management are feasible from the policy making perspective and desirable for their impact on human, economic, and environmental well-being.

Carol J. Pierce Colfer is a team leader of the Center for International Forestry Research program "Local People, Devolution, and Adaptive Collaborative Management of Forests" and co-editor of People Managing Forests: The Links Between Human Well-Being and Sustainability and Which Way Forward? People, Forests, and Policymaking in Indonesia.
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Title Annotation:BOOKS RECEIVED
Publication:Environmental Law
Date:Mar 22, 2005
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