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Social learning by whom? Assessing gendered opportunities for participation and social learning in collaborative forest governance

Felicitas Egunyu, University of Saskatchewan
Maureen G Reed, University of Saskatchewan


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Collaborative forest governance enables forest-based communities access to and management responsibilities for forestry resources. Researchers argue that processes that enable social learning have the potential to contribute to the sustainable management of forests by engaging local people, helping them identify their collective needs and gain access to resource entitlements, and encouraging them to learn about and implement different management options. Although there is considerable attention to gender in the literature on collaborative forestry, particularly in developing countries, there is relatively little attention to gender in the social learning literature. Furthermore, there is almost no attention to these issues in postindustrial countries. Our purpose was to better understand how gender affects social learning and collaborative forest governance in forest-based communities in Canada and Uganda. Results showed that most participants in both countries started engaging in collaborative forest governance with limited knowledge and learned as they participated in various activities. However, we found that social learning opportunities and outcomes were affected by gender; in addition, they were also affected by the values that people held, education, and literacy. We suggest that practitioners should consider gender and other axes of difference if they want to design collaborative forest governance initiatives that are both participatory and inclusive.

Key words

collaborative forest management agreement; community forest; forest-based communities; gender; participation; social learning

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087