Community Forestry in Germany, a Case Study Seen Through the Lens of the International Model

Carsten Schusser, Max Krott, Jacqueline Logmani, Nazmus Sadath, Mbolo C. Yufanyi Movuh, Manjola Salla


Recent and on-going international research, especially on community forestry in developing countries, has begun to question the success of the international community forestry concept that was introduced more recently, by the end of the 1970s. Though it appears that community forestry does contribute to a positive ecological outcome, further analysis seems to reveal that other advantages promised by the model, i.e., devolution of power to the local resource users and improvement of their livelihoods, simply do not happen.
In comparison the German Community Forestry as a concept was first introduced during the 18th century. This article investigates the ways in which German community forestry works and, given that it’s continued existence represents a measure of success, whether it can be a model for community forestry worldwide. To ascertain this, we analyse 11 community forests in Germany, applying power theory and methodology to identify the powerful actors and these actors’ interests. In addition, we also analyse the outcomes of community forestry.
The results show that the researched community forests are sustainably managed, but that powerful actors control this management. The direct forest user is not very involved and benefits only slightly. Therefore, the article concludes that the German community forestry cannot be a worldwide model, but that it is nevertheless an interesting model in practice if the goal is to manage forest resources sustainably.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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