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Policy and governance in natural resource management

Policy and governance in natural resource management

A major area of interest is policy and governance in the context of natural resource use and management. This stems originally from work on Indian forestry, especially the experience of collaborative stakeholder forestry that has characterized the sector since the mid-1970s. These interests have led to related research on biodiversity conservation and common pool resources (with Bill Adams), and on water. Research spans issues of resource use and conflict at local levels, as well as the political economy of broader policy processes at national (and global) scales.

Funded research in this area includes two major grants from the Department for International Development, Natural Resources Systems Programme.

Policy dialogue

Funding was originally secured for a one-year study on policy dialogue over common pool resources (with Bill Adams and Dan Brockington), titled "Policy Implications of Current Knowledge about CPR Management in India, Zimbabwe and Tanzania", 1 March 2001 - 31 March 2002 (NRSP Project number R7973).

 

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This was followed by a related piece of work exploring stakeholder conflict in the context of forest management in central India, "Incorporating Stakeholder Perceptions in Participatory Forest Management in India", 1 March 2003-31 December 2005 NRSP Project number R8280). This project was a large, multi-institutional study, conducted with six Indian partner organizations: Enviro-Legal Defense Firm, Delhi; Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal; Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi; Sanket Information and Research Agency, Bhopal; The Energy and Resources Institute, Delhi; Winrock International India, Delhi.

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A number of publications (see below) have emerged from this work. Research in this area has also fed into outputs in other media (see below), including a comic book on forestry issues (in English and Hindi) aimed at young people (in collaboration with The Viveka Foundation, Delhi), a documentary on Joint Forest Management in India (in collaboration with Moving Images, Delhi), and a street play on forestry-livelihood issues (in collaboration with Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, India).

Research networks that have developed out of this work include the Poverty and Conservation Working Group and the Cambridge Conservation Forum. Dr Vira was also Co-ordinating Lead Author for Chapter 3 of the Responses Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, an international work program designed to meet the needs of decision makers and the public for scientific information concerning the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and options for responding to those changes.

Publications

  • Vira, B. (2006) "Evolving Paradigms in Forest Governance: An Overview", Background paper prepared for the LEAD Global Training Session on Stakeholder Participation in Environmental Governance, February 2006.
  • Vira, B. (2005) "Deconstructing the Harda Experience: the limits of bureaucratic participation", Economic and Political Weekly, 40(48), 5068-75.
  • Fisher, D. R., Simpson, R. D., Vira, B., Chambers, W. B. and Davidson, D. J. (2005) "Assessing Responses," In K. Chopra, R. Leemans, P. Kumar and H. Simons (eds.) Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Policy Responses, Volume 3. Findings of the Responses Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment," Washington, DC: Island Press, pp. 71-94.
  • Adams W.M., Aveling R., Brockington D., Dickson B., Elliott J., Hutton J., Roe D., Vira, B., Wolmer, W. (2004) "Biodiversity Conservation and the Eradication of Poverty," Science, Volume 306, pp. 1146-1149.
  • Adams, W., Brockington, D., Dyson, J. and Vira, B. (2003) "Managing Tragedies: Understanding Conflict over Common Pool Resources," Science, Volume 302, pp.1915-6.
  • Vira, B. (2002) "Conceptualising the Commons: Power and Politics in a Globalising Economy," paper for the 9th Biennial Conference of The International Association for the Study of Common Property, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 17-21 June 2002.
  • Dyson, J. and Vira, B. (2002) "Donor Dilemmas: Perceptions, Relationships and Strategies in the Rural Natural Resources Sector," paper for the 9th Biennial Conference of The International Association for the Study of Common Property, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 17-21 June 2002.
  • Adams, W., Brockington, D., Dyson, J. and Vira, B. (2002) "Analytical Framework for Dialogue on Common Pool Resource Management," lead paper for Round Table on Promoting Policy Dialogue for Common Pool Resource Management, 9th Biennial Conference of The International Association for the Study of Common Property, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 17-21 June 2002.
  • Vira, B. (2001) "Claiming Legitimacy: Analysing Conflict in the Environmental Policy Process," Environment and Planning C, Volume 19, No. 5, pp. 637-650.
  • Vira, B. (1995) Institutional Change in India's Forest Sector, 1976-1994 - reflections on state policy, OCEES Research Paper No. 5, Oxford: Oxford Centre for the Environment, Ethics and Society.

Other media

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  • Vira, B. and Sekhar, R. (2005) Spirit of the Forest: A Comic Book, New Delhi: Viveka Foundation, 36 pp. (also translated in Hindi)
  • Forest Dialogues: Joint Forest Management in Harda, a documentary (34 mins). Made in collaboration with Moving Images, India.
  • Tale of a Forest, a street play performed by Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, India, and filmed by Moving Images, India (25 mins.)