Contestation and Citizen-Led Negotiation Around the Establishment of Protected Areas in Nepal Himalaya
Keywords:conservation area, contestation, negotiation, governance, regulation
This paper examines and uncovers the politics and debate emanating from and embedded in the contestations and negotiations around the establishment of protected areas (PAs) in Nepal. We take an example of one of the newly declared PAs – Gaurishankar Conservation Area (GCA)—and traverse through the politics and debate over its establishment. This paper is based on the ethnographic encounters and accounts of everyday dynamics, popular discourse and deliberations since the government’s declaration of GCA in central Nepal. It is driven by a political ecology approach to analyse state – community contestation around nature conservation. We argue that vigorous social campaign at different levels primarily led by Federation of Community Forest User Groups Nepal (FECOFUN) has been able to bring the state and powerful conservation actors on the negotiation table by contesting the hegemony of conservation and rhetoric of community based conservation. The contours of FECOFUN’s campaign around GCA suggest how the nature of contestation and conflict has evolved from a mere resistance and protests towards critical engagement and negotiation with the state conservation actors leading to a democratic governance of GCA. We suggest that concurrent adoption of constant struggle and critical engagement can produce negotiated arrangement of PA governance.
Journal of Forestry and Livelihood Vol.10(1) 2012 42-57
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