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Globalised forest-products: commodification of the matsutake mushroom in Tibetan villages, Yunnan, Southwest China

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Recent economic policies in China demonstrate a growing recognition of the potential of the commercial utilization of Non-timber forest products to contribute to sustainable forest management and improve local livelihoods. However, little attention has been paid to understanding the socio-political contexts or the distributional effects of NTFP commercialization. This commodity chain analysis of the matsutake mushroom market in Yunnan Province, Southwest China, identifies the different actors involved in the trade and mechanisms that shape their access to, and benefits from, the market. This study finds that market regulations meant to promote exports have constrained market development and limited participation at the most lucrative node in the chain to a few powerful actors. Also, while economic activities continue to be structured by local cultural, historical and political forces, the interactions between local and global processes significantly shape distributional equity in the matsutake commodity chain.

Keywords: Access to Resource; Commodity Chain; Middlemen; NTFP; Political Ecology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies, Kunming Institute of Botany, Heilongtan, Kunming, 650204, China; World Agroforestry Centre ICRAF-China, Heilongtan, Kunming, 650204, China; School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK.

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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