Linking outputs and outcomes from devolved forest governance using a Modified Actor-Power-Accountability Framework (MAPAF): Case study from Chilimo forest, Ethiopia
Recent changes in the policy and institutional framework for forestry of Ethiopia emphasize the decentralization of power including through devolution. With the aim of filling the gap in the literature on Ethiopia, this study explored the actors involved, the nature of power they hold, the accountability relationships among actors and the social and environmental outcomes of the devolved governance system using a Modified Actor-Power-Accountability Framework (MAPAF). The results indicated that discretionary decision-making space is created for the local population and the leaders of Forest Cooperatives to manage and protect the forest and use it for subsistence purposes. To generate income from their withdrawal rights, however, local actors require approval from a mid-level actor, the Oromia Forest and Wildlife Enterprise. Devolution has improved physical and human conditions and the benefits from natural capital, which were identified as salient for the local population as a means of coping with their vulnerabilities and for income generation. The environmental outcome differed depending on the policy followed by the mid-level partner organizations that make decisions with the local population on income-generating activities from the sale of forest resources. Overall, elite capture and the recent emphasis on income generation over forest conservation were identified as key factors hampering positive social and environmental outcomes from the devolved governance system.
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