Incorporating social science analysis into natural resource management programs: forest governance in Sarawak as a case study

Dennis Shoesmith

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Natural resource management programs need to be more than good science. Inescapably they must operate within social, political and economic contexts that are shaped by contending interests. They develop and are implemented in policy environments that reflect these contending interests. Programs that are well designed and are grounded in good science may actually fail or be subverted if the politics surrounding the natural resource management program are driven by other agendas.
    The social sciences have a role to play here in locating natural resource management programs in real social and political contexts. It is now recognised that in project design and implementation, sociologists and social anthropologists can help develop better methods of community consultation and suggest more effective processes of local participation and joint management of natural resources. This is generally recognised as essential to sustainable natural resources management. But, even when this is done well, projects may be overtaken by powerful interests with quite different objectives. It is here that social sciences can contribute to a 'real world' understanding of the social and economic and political contexts of natural resource management and of the contending agendas of state, social and corporate actors over the uses of natural resources.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRIMBA
    Subtitle of host publicationSustainable Forest Livelihoods in Malaysia and Australia
    EditorsG Ainsworth, S Garnett
    Place of PublicationMalaysia
    PublisherInstitute of Environment and Development (LESTARI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
    Number of pages5
    ISBN (Print)978-967-5227-30-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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