In Chapter 2, we noted that the decentralised forest management literature points to a number of factors that influence local governments’ decisions about forest management. Several empirical studies (Andersson et al., 2006; Andersson et al., 2004; Andersson, 2004; Andersson, 2003; Larson, 2002; Larson, 2003; Ribot et al., 2006) have considered the influence of some of those factors – such as sufficient resources and capacity, financial incentives, upward accountability, discretionary power, demands from NGOs and pressure from local people – on successful decentralised forest management. For the most part, those studies do not examine deforestation (or conservation) as the dependent variable. They use good forest management, which is generally defined as the interest of local governments in undertaking forest initiatives and providing forest-related services. Although forest services provided by local governments, such as forest rehabilitation, may contribute to reducing emissions from the forest sector, reducing deforestation is more complex than simply delivering forest-related services at the local level. Two studies that specifically examine factors influencing local governments’ interest in avoiding deforestation find a number of important attributes, including: NGO pressure, local financial importance of forestry, socioeconomic context, national policy, local institutional performance and biophysical factors (i.e. access to forests and topography) (Andersson and Gibson, 2007; Andersson et al., 2010). These studies appear to increase the emphasis on the financial and economic aspects of forest resources compared with other related studies.
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