Decentralization or privatization of environmental governance? Forest conflict and bioregional assessment in Australia

Decentralization or privatization of environmental governance? Forest conflict and bioregional assessment in Australia Journal Article

Journal of Rural Studies

  • Author(s): Lane, Marcus B.
  • Published: 2003
  • Volume: 19

Abstract: This paper is concerned with the democratic governance of public environmental resources. The paper examines the use of bioregional assessment in Australia as a means of resolving long-term, multilateral, and acrimonious conflict over native forest use and management. Reflecting on recent theorizing in environmental management that has pivoted on concepts of democracy, including representations of the public interest and mechanisms to promote public deliberation, the paper identifies the anti-democratic implications of decentralized environmental governance. In particular, the paper demonstrates how uncritical engagement of civic actors can lead to development of privatized, corporatist style agreements that fail to reflect diverse values and interests. It concludes by arguing that calls for decentralization and devolution of many areas of state responsibility fail to acknowledge the potential for powerful actors in a diverse civil society to subvert, rather than promote, democratic processes and outcomes.

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Suggested Citation
Lane, Marcus B., 2003, Decentralization or privatization of environmental governance? Forest conflict and bioregional assessment in Australia, Volume:19, Journal Article, viewed 14 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=4099.

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