Importing Democracy: Promoting Participatory Decision Making in Russian Forest Communities
ENVIRONMENTAL DEMOCRACY: FACING UNCERTAINTY, 121-140 (Cécilia Claeys & Marie Jacqué eds., Peter Lang Publishers 2012). ISBN: 978-90-5201-855-3
14 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 6, 2014
This paper describes how the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) jump-started democratic institutions in Russian rural communities to create a basis for social, environmental, and economic modernization within the Russian forestry sector. In Russia’s post-soviet markets and institutions, a host of multinational companies and large transnational environmental organizations sought to promote the restructuring of Russia’s legal and economic infrastructure and active subsidiaries in Russia. In order for modern forestry approaches to be imported, management practices that had developed in the West needed to be adapted to Russia’s unique context, which led forestry holdings in Northwestern Russia to become involved in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Due to this involvement with the FSC, community participation should have increased considerably as well. However, civil society organizations were limited in villages where there was no pre-existing tradition of acting as real stakeholders in the surrounding forests. This paper describes how networks, local communities, and cultural understandings (“social imaginaries”) are involved in instituting more democratic management practices in Russian forestry.
Keywords: Legal Infrastructure, Economic Infrastructure, transnational environmental organization, sustainable forestry, forestry communities, forestry, management practices, FSC, Forest Stewardship Council, civil society infrastructure, civil society, World Wildlife Fund for Nature, WWF, Russia
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