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Local environmental management, land degradation and the 'gestion des terroirs' approach in West Africa: policies and pitfalls


  • Simon Batterbury

    (Department of Geography & Earth Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK)


This paper critically evaluates the gestion des terroirs villageois (GTV) approach to community management of natural resources. The approach is widely used in francophone West Africa by NGOs, bilateral programmes, and government agencies. Three aspects of GTV approaches are presented and reviewed, based on research conducted with a large bilateral programme in Bam Province on the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso. These are: (i) the ways in which GTV projects tackle problems of territorial control; (ii) their ability to respond to and work with local power relations; and (iii) differential social and economic benefits resulting from the programmes. These issues are examined in two communities that have worked with GTV planning since the early 1990s. The paper concludes by stressing the significance, and the drawbacks of gestion des terroirs and asks whether it represents any more than a 'second best' form of community planning for natural resource management in the Sahel. Copyright © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Batterbury, 1998. "Local environmental management, land degradation and the 'gestion des terroirs' approach in West Africa: policies and pitfalls," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(7), pages 871-898.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:10:y:1998:i:7:p:871-898 DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1328(1998110)10:7<871::AID-JID533>3.0.CO;2-U

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Huppi, Monika & Feder, Gershon, 1990. "The Role of Groups and Credit Cooperatives in Rural Lending," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 5(2), pages 187-204, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Milder, Jeffrey C. & Hart, Abigail K. & Dobie, Philip & Minai, Joshua & Zaleski, Christi, 2014. "Integrated Landscape Initiatives for African Agriculture, Development, and Conservation: A Region-Wide Assessment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 68-80.
    2. Lewis, David & Bebbington, Anthony J. & Batterbury, Simon & Shah, Alpa & Olson, Elizabeth & Siddiqi, M. Shameem & Duvall, Sandra, 2002. "Practice, power and meaning: frameworks for studying organisational culture in multi-agency rural development projects," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 29217, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Michael Kevane & Leslie Gray, 1999. "A Woman's Field Is Made At Night: Gendered Land Rights And Norms In Burkina Faso," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 1-26.

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