Forest Management Paradigms and Resource Rights in Historical Perspective: Evidence from the Swat District, Pakistan(W-116)

Forest Management Paradigms and Resource Rights in Historical Perspective: Evidence from the Swat District, Pakistan(W-116)

Publication details

  • Saturday | 01 May, 2010
  • Talimand Khan
  • Working Papers
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Talimand Khan  

This paper focuses on forest management systems and resource rights in three different geographical zones of Swat District, Pakistan. Each zone has distinctive social and historical characteristics in relation to forest management and resource rights and their impact on conservation and sustainable use of the forest resources. Further, the paper analyzes three peculiar historical regimes with regard to their management mechanisms, resource rights, and the transition from one regime to another. It is argued that the interplay between geography and management schemes drive the use of forest resources in the Swat District.

The paper makes some comparisons between informal (community) management and management by formal (state institutions) and finds that inclusion or exclusion criteria regarding resource rights laid down by a particular management system create situations that lead either to a sense of ownership or deprivation among  stakeholders.  Another finding is that the management of forests in the Swat District changed from community to formal institutions which could not maintain the balance between the customary and statutory resource rights arrangements. As a result, conflicting interests created an opaque resource rights situation that prompted predatory attitudes among the various stakeholders. The paper recommends renegotiating the resource rights regime coupled with changes in the role of the Forest Department (a state institution) from a command and control approach to that of a facilitator in the process of forest management. ­ Developing alternative energy sources, particularly in the forested areas, may also help to conserve forest resources.