Indiana University, University of Colorado, International Food Policy Research Institute, Kennedy School of Government Harvard University, Charles Darwin University, Center for International Forestry Research, University of Alberta
Kristen Anderson, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Esther Mwandi, Bruce Campbell, Marty Luckert
This project, working in Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, and Bolivia, sought to link policy changes with outcomes for people and the environment. Researchers focused on the role of institutions at multiple scales and examined how decentralization policies create incentives that affect behaviors and livelihoods as well as outcomes for forests.
Researchers found that large discrepancies exist between decentralization policies on paper and on the ground. Further, they observed that high-level changes in decentralization trickle down to local people along complex paths. Building on these findings, researchers developed capacity at the selected forest sites to enable resource users particularly women, the poor, and other marginalized groups to identify, understand, and participate in forest governance, benefits, and policy processes. They also developed capacity within government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to understand the effects of policy changes and to monitor and evaluate the impact of decentralization and other property rights reforms on livelihoods and natural resources, including biodiversity. By building capacity at both levels, researchers increased the ability of actors at many scales to work together effectively.