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Forest planning and management in Papua New Guinea, 1884 to 1995: a political ecological analysis

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Throughout the 1990s, forest planning and management in the southwest Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea underwent a period of unprecedented reform. More than decade into this process, however, the worst aspects of the country's forest industry continue unabated. Reflecting on these events, this paper presents a detailed historical analysis of state intervention in forest planning and management. The paper argues that beneath a broader history of dramatic change, forest planning and management continues to sustain relationships, attitudes and an approach to forest management that have remained unchanged and unchallenged since the imposition of the first colonial regimes in the mid-1880s. Drawing insight from the field of political ecology, the paper identifies five key factors that are thought to perpetuate this situation, arguing that the failure of the most recent reforms can be attributed to the state's repeated failure to address the effect of these political–ecological relationships on the entire forest planning and management enterprise. The paper concludes with a brief commentary on the practical implications of this political–ecological perspective for the future development of forest planning and management in Papua New Guinea.

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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