The Crisis of Deforestation and Public Governance of Community Forests in Thailand
This paper argues that the Thai state’s forest management since 1896 has
been centralized in accordance with the traditional public administration regime, with
its emphasis on top-down control without consultation or local people’s participation.
This regime resulted in deforestation and crisis, which led to social conflicts during in
the 1970s and 1980s. The Thai state was ineffective in managing this severe problem
and then, in the late 1990s, it shifted its forest management policy to the New Public
Governance regime by granting communities’ rights in forest management. This new
management policy features collective public leaderships, working networks and the
use of soft instruments of dialogue and mutual learning, which results in protection for
the forest but also recovery in many devastated areas.
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