Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
214R: Governance structures and competing narratives: how do multiple actors influence public policies on land
Thursday, 25/Apr/2019:
10:45am - 12:15pm

Session Chair: Carla Inguaggiato
Session Chair: Walter Fernando Mioni
Session Chair: Maurice Tschopp
Location: MB-101
Main Building, room 101, 1st floor, east wing, 80 (+14) seats
Session Topics:
What do people want from land?

Session Abstract

The purpose of this session is to analyse diverse environmental and land policies related to sustainable forest management and ‘land users’ rights by considering, on the one hand, the environmental governance process and, on the other hand, narratives on land use and land users' rights adopted by the actors involved. Stakeholders’ discourses and policy-making have important connections and divergences. How do different actors influence public policies processes through appropriation of narratives and shaping of specific discourses? In which step of the policy process are these practises the most effective? Some actors might hence have important influence on specific stages of the policy process (e.g. agenda-setting) but might be powerless in other stage (e.g. implementation), which could explain the relative gap between norms and their application in the field. This session aims to explore how global narratives centred in the ‘community’, ‘good governance’, ‘rights’ and ‘environmental sustainability’ are experienced and appropriated from diverse social actors’ points of views by exploring policy process and stakeholders' discourses on land use change, sustainable forest management and land users’ rights. Across the globe the complex tenure regimes of land users’ rights and fragile economic situation leaves rural communities severely exposed to the risk of land and resources appropriation. This session focuses especially on territories in dispute, where there are complex power relations and contrasting visions about land-use systems, ideas of development and representations of social space. An important case study is the Chaco region, which has gained relevance as a result of a convergence of interrelated factors: the advance of the agricultural frontier; increased importance of environmental policy especially Forest law; governmental and non-governmental policies on local communities’ land rights. For some local social actors, fragile land-tenure rights could potentially accelerate deforestation and degradation of the environment. On the other hand, indigenous and criollos organizations use the attention derived from environmental issues to increase their visibility and to assert their land rights. The forest, the environment and water are concepts through which local actors try to channel their own interests and projects. We are interested in multiple contributions addressing the complexity of the issues raised such as policy networks perspective, discourse analysis, organization decision making theory and anthropological perspective. In particular, we are interested in contributions that tackle the following research questions: 1) How do land users relate to land in economic and political terms? 2) How diverse environmental and development policies relate to land conflicts or precarious land tenure and to sustainable forest management? 3) What is the land project and policy ‘solutions’ proposed? 4) How and under which conditions do environmental governance policies facilitate or hinder land rights of local communities and sustainable forest management? 5) What kind of spatial representations produce public policies (land, forest and agricultural production) and how does these representations confront with land users’ visions?

External Resource: - SESSION RECORDING -
Full talk
ID: 499 / 214R: 1
214R Governance structures and competing narratives: how do multiple actors influence public policies on land?
Keywords: Chaco, deforestation, alternatives, indigenous people, privatisation

Can small-scale alternative initiatives on land use withstand the power and impulses of large-scale extractive industries?

Heike Schaumberg, Nick Bardsley

University of Reading, United Kingdom

This paper discusses some of the contentions that arise when we explore alternative agrarian practices to counter the devastating impacts of large-scale deforestation. Based on current anthropological fieldwork in the Argentine Chaco, it scrutinises the social and economic drives of deforestation and argues for the importance to differentiate between industrial scale deforestation and uses of the forest for domestic as well as small-scale economic activity. Drawing such a line is important for both political and environmental scientific reasons.

The South American Chaco is the second largest forest region in the Americas that represents an ecosystem in itself, contributes to climatic changes, and has experienced the world’s highest rates of deforestation since the soy expansion over the past two decades. The Chaco’s rich biodiversity attracts a multiplicity of resource extracting industries in addition to soy and has done so throughout the twentieth century. In addition, the forest and its many aboriginal peoples have for a long time suffered the consequences of extensive, free cattle ranging.

Too often, the onus for finding possibilities for sustainable resource exploitation is implicitly placed on the politically and economically weakest of the forest actors, the aboriginal people seen as the “guardians” of the forest, ironically so, as they face the prospects of being driven out of the forest and off their ancestral lands. Agrarian expansion followed large-scale privatisation of land since the onset of Argentina’s wholesale neoliberalisation. This paper instead argues for regulating measures to urgently constrict both privatisation of Chaco land and large-scale deforestation for private profit at the expense of the social good, with a critical eye to what went wrong with some of the existing political and legal parameters designed to protect the forest and its inhabitants.

Full talk
ID: 673 / 214R: 2
214R Governance structures and competing narratives: how do multiple actors influence public policies on land?
Keywords: Land tenure, environmental governance policies, forest law fund benefits, sustainable forest management, Salta province

The land is yours? Tenancy situation and Argentinean forest law implementation: longitudinal study of the selection of beneficiaries in Salta province

Laura Fernanda Romero

Universidad Nacional de Salta, Argentine Republic

In 2010, Salta province acceded to the non-refundable funds established in forest Law to carry out Conservation and Management projects in Categories I (red) and II (yellow). Henceforth, the province would establish annual calls to access funds to which associations, indigenous communities, small farmers, companies and private owners are presented.

We are interested in the modalities and conditions of environmental governance policies to facilitate or hinder land rights of local communities and sustainable forest management. According to our investigation, it is possible to say that the province has formulated uniform technical and legal requirements in the process of selecting beneficiaries, generating a system that tends to favor economically empowered actors to the detriment of indigenous communities and small farmers.

In spite of the emergency situation declared in forest Law about those actors due to deforestation and the evictions generated by the expansion of the agrarian frontier, the beneficiary selection processes is guide by the logic of private property over other forms of property and makes invisible the problems linked to situations of precarious land tenure. In fact, these actors have difficulty accessing funds due to problems linked to weakness of state policies (paternalistic logic towards e indigenous communities that are impeded to manage their own natural and economical resources without state assistance)

For this work, we use ethnographic techniques (observation, participant observation, interviews) and analysis of official discourses and reports issued during the years of the implementation process of the law.

Full talk
ID: 797 / 214R: 3
214R Governance structures and competing narratives: how do multiple actors influence public policies on land?
Keywords: Enviromental policy, Production and sustainability, views of development, conflict

Environmental policy in the great American Chaco: innovation in sustainable management of forests, utopia or real rapprochement among production and conservation?

Walter Fernando Mioni

INTA, Argentine Republic

The great American Chaco is currently a global hotspot in terms of deforestation, a process that has worsened in recent decades, due to a number of factors related to processes of agricultural expansion. This has resulted in loss of biodiversity and environmental services, greenhouse gas emissions and impact on climate change, updating conflicts over land tenure, with forced displacements of peasant and indigenous families.

Environmental policies in the countries of this region, lack common criteria and homogenous policy instruments. However there are common elements across the different territories: NGO´s, organized peasant families and indigenous communities have deployed strategies to ensure their permanence in territories, appealing to environmental arguments, or food security and sovereignty, and indigenous territories’ recognition. Some of these initiatives have reached international visibility. Forest law in Argentina and Forest Management with Integrated Cattle Ranching agreement (referred as MBGI) stands out.

“Management and restoration of forests in productive environments", a public-private consortium at a regional scale, led by the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA – Argentina) and with the presence of public institutions and NGO from Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil. The project, in which I participate, aims at advancing in the implementation and evaluation of forest management systems, strengthening forests’ environmental governance of and local communities’ socio-ecological resilience.

We hypothesize that testing these policies requires socio - political parameters that often must be built in parallel to the implementation of the technological proposal. In the present work we study the different positions of the relevant actors and we analyse if the conflicting views of development have enough influence to support a sustainable forest management proposal that promises genuine coexistence of production and sustainability. We adopt the following methodological tools: actors’ perspectives (known also as Q Method), interviews and stakeholders' discourses analysis.

Flash talk
ID: 524 / 214R: 4
214R Governance structures and competing narratives: how do multiple actors influence public policies on land?
Keywords: Environmental governance, policy networks, sustainable forest management, ambiguity

Yellow ambiguities: challenges in the implementation of Salta’s forest law torn between production and conservation

Carla Inguaggiato1, Dimitris Christopoulos2, Maurice Tschopp1, Walter Mioni3, Graziano Michele Ceddia1

1University of Bern, Switzerland; 2Modul University, Austria; 3Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria, Argentina

How public policies support governance for sustainable forest management is an open challenge. The Chaco Salteño is a key case study as it has experienced very high deforestation rates and it has been one of the first provinces in Argentina to adopt the forest law.

Salta forest law was approved after long negotiation processes involving actors such as: provincial and national state, NGOs, large scale producers’, indigenous and small-scale farmers’ organizations. The law defines conservation categories based on environmental sustainability: from red, corresponding to high, to green, corresponding to low value of forest conservation. In-between, the largest portion of territory is designated as yellow, which allows for “sustainable use of native forest”.

We discuss how yellow category area is constructed around the ambiguity of what sustainable productive forest use means. Our hypothesis is that this ambiguity was necessary to gain the approval of a large coalition of actors.

In this context emerges the state proposal for a sustainable forest management plan which is a form of silvo-pasture known as forest management with integrated cattle ranching (MBGI). Lack of consensus around MBGI shows this ambiguity. Stakeholders disagree both on means and on objectives of the plan proposed. Large-scale producers portray yellow areas as lost development opportunity while environmentalists and NGOs argue that MGBI is weak in conservation, is difficult to implement and could become a Trojan horse for deforestation.

We study this complex policy arena using social network analysis and adopting a mixed methods approach. We combine the study of policy networks’ topology with the analysis of stakeholders’ discourses.

We find that, the lack of agreement among MBGI proposal among stakeholders' discourses and forest policy networks’ topology, can explain the current impasse in the implementation of sustainable foresto pastoral management policy instruments and the presence of parallel policy negotiations.