In recent years, officials have lavished much attention on Africa’s forests and launched many expensive programs meant to preserve them. But the pace of deforestation on the continent does not appear to have slowed. To explain why, Horning relies on careful eldwork in Madagascar, Tanzania, and Uganda. She argues that donor programs often garner only rhetorical support from local communities, which are usually driven by their own economic interests and the cultural and religious meanings they attach to the forests but find it convenient to keep the donations flowing. At the local level, moreover, people have their own material and political concerns and may not buy in to the policies of the national government and foreign donors. The value of Horning’s book comes from its linking of the local, national, and international levels of policy, showing that the three must be properly integrated for ecological efforts to work. Horning argues persuasively that people who live closest to natural resources must take full ownership of environmental programs.
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