Forests for Participatory Democracy: Emergent Patterns in the Interaction of Actors and Space in a Community-Based Sustainable Forestry Project in San Francisco Libre, Nicaragua
The host of literature on community-based sustainable forestry initiatives cites a profound schism between theory and the actual devolution of power and conservation of natural environments. This thesis set out to analyze the workings of power in a decentralized sustainable forestry project in San Francisco Libre, Nicaragua, and to account for how the myriad relevant actors influence, and are influenced, by the interactions and opportunities that arose. Taking a co-constructivist, relational approach, the case study undertaken found sustainable forestry and participatory democracy to be co-constitutive. However, where modernity has been touted for freeing society from the constraints of the natural world through science and technology, the very democracy and sustainability these initiatives are striving for are constrained by the modern framework upon which many of our institutions are built. By abandoning such nature vs. society dichotomous frameworks, socio- political initiatives can better account for the place-based, relational agency human and non-human actors share, and therefore create more effective, participative democratic institutions.