Community forestry: Framing sustainability in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Elena Vissa is a recent forestry graduate at the University of Padua in Italy. She conducted field research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) supported by CIFOR’s FORETS project for her master’s degree.

Elinor Ostrom (1933-2012), a prominent researcher on common-pool resources – which include forests – and one of only two women to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics, argued that when communities can effectively control natural resources, they will manage them to their benefit and ensure long-term sustainability.

However, she cautioned that the following conditions must be met: knowledge, trust and communication within community members; the existence of institutions; and the absence of an intervention by an external authority.

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