Devolution of natural resource management is a widely claimed aim in policy discourse. The Government of Pakistan is undertaking devolution of Provincial Government, including the Provincial Forest Departments. In historical and current practice, forest management has been devolved to local, community-based jirgas. Jirgas achieve some of the aims claimed by devolution which often fail in community-based management organizations. They represent the interests of different asset-based groups and ensure use rights of all for subsistence. However, the internal logic on which they work is based on different principles than those envisaged by policymakers. A case study of Pukhtun agropastoralists in the Malakand Division, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, illustrates the jirga's role in forest management and questions some of the assumptions on which community-based management is founded.
- participatory development