Do locals have a say? Community experiences of participation in governing forest plantations in Tanzania
As large-scale forest plantations expand in developing countries, concerns are rising about their relation to and integration with adjacent local communities. In developing countries with weak enforcement of property rights, private plantations are more likely than state-owned plantations to involve villagers in plantation's activities in order to secure and guarantee their access to land and labor resources. Certification standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and adherence to responsible investment guidelines further strengthen this likelihood by requiring plantations to consult and engage local communities. Using household data from Tanzania, we assess households' experiences with their participation in plantation activities by comparing the experiences of households in villages adjacent to private, FSC-certified plantations with those of households in villages adjacent to a non-certified, state-owned plantation. Our quantitative analyses show that households in the villages adjacent to the private, certified plantations are more likely to report to participate in plantation activities. Our results show that the certified plantations are more likely to respond to community complaints and grievances. We further find that male-headed households and households of plantation employees are more likely than female-headed households and households without plantation employees to participate in plantations' activities. Our results imply that forest management certification can complement state policy approaches of sustainable forest management to enhance community participation in forest management.