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Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 67–75 | Cite as

Community forestry management and livelihood development in northwest China: integration of governance, project design, and community participation

  • Haiyun Chen
  • Ting ZhuEmail author
  • Max Krott
  • David Maddox
Open Access
Original Article

Abstract

In projects of community development and natural resource management, local residents collaborate with government and NGOs on decisions about forest management and participate in programs designed to improve livelihoods while sustaining natural resources. This paper uses case studies and survey data in Gansu province of northwest China to explore social, ecological, and economic outcomes of community-based co-management (CBCM). Findings show that CBCM appears to have significantly increased livelihoods for local community residents overall. Forest condition and attitudes about forest conservation were also improved. However, economic benefits were not enjoyed uniformly within the communities because, although CBCM projects are nominally available to all, certain subgroups within communities are less likely to participate. Greater education, being married, and access to information are all strongly correlated with participation and thus the economic benefits of CBCM projects. Women, although they frequently participate in household decisions, are infrequent participants in CBCM projects, perhaps because project design does not meet their needs. Future improvements to CBCM project design should include increased access to information, education, and equitable treatment of diverse stakeholders in the decision-making process. Such improvements would likely lead to improvements in livelihoods as well as more sustainable forest management and conservation.

Keywords

Community-based co-management Community forestry Livelihood Governance Policy Mechanism Participation 

Introduction

How can communities effectively integrate social development and ecological protection when rapid economic development can be hugely consumptive of natural resources? Although many regions advocate “green industrialization” and emphasize the sustainable use of natural resources, sustainable management of natural resources remains a challenge all over the world. Community-based co-management (CBCM) is a relatively new natural resources management model and has been applied near numerous nature reserves and hotspots. CBCM is a people-centered, community-oriented, resource-focused, and partnership-based management model (Bond et al. 2006; Pomeroy 1995; Robert and Rebecca 2006). It emphasizes positive participation and cooperation of different stakeholders in natural resource management and livelihood development (Danida 2007; Stephen 2006).

The practice of CBCM in China has been supported by various international organizations, including Global Environment Facility (GEF), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), World Bank (WB), and others, with the primary goals of biodiversity conservation, socioeconomic development of nature reserves and their surrounding communities, and sustainable use of natural resources (Wei and Zhang 2006; Yang et al. 2008; Chen et al. 2012). Key characteristics of CBCM projects are as follows. (1) CBCM projects provide non-agricultural work and employment information from outside the community to help participants improve their livelihood condition. (2) They facilitate the positive participation of local community residents in the management of natural resources. (3) Most CBCM projects aim to communicate to participants a stronger awareness of forest resource protection. Increased consciousness typically results in reduced or more conservative collection of forest products. (4) They provide training on agricultural techniques to enable farmers to improve crop production, optimize cultivation practices, and increase agricultural production outcomes (Webb and Shivakoti 2008; Chen et al. 2012).

However, some problems and conflicts also emerged in the process, such as the long-term development of CBCM projects; livelihood improvement in different aspects including social, ecological, and economic; governance improvement and transformation of government roles. Less demonstrated studies on CBCM and livelihood development in northwest China try to analyze and solve these problems at micro-scale level. All of these considerations will be the study basis in the paper.

Methodology

Study area

The selected study area is Gansu Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve, located in Wenxian County, Gansu Province, China. A number of CBCM projects were implemented or were in the process of being implemented in these areas. The projects were supported by government or NGOs, including the Global Environment Foundation, World Wildlife Foundation, Oxfam of Hong Kong, Ford Foundation, and others (Zhang and Wu 1995; Wei et al. 2009; Chen et al. 2012; Zhu et al. 2012). The main objectives of most CBCM projects are sustainable livelihood development, forest resource management, and biodiversity conservation. Project communities set up a CBCM committee, composed of different stakeholders and including community residents selected by community residents, NGO’s and government officials. Usually, all of the community residents have right and opportunity to participate in CBCM projects.

Sampling design and data collection

In 2006 and 2010, 200 data questionnaires were distributed and analyzed. With the support and cooperation of official departments in the Reserve, 8 sampling villages were selected in Baimahe and Bikou protection stations. In addition, we conducted interviews in each village and some in-depth interviews with CBCM committees of each village (Chen et al. 2012; Zhu et al. 2012). In each village, the questionnaires were quasi-random; that is, they were distributed opportunistically but represented the full diversity of the communities.

Data analysis and design of system of indicators and variables

Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were used to analyze the changes in livelihood development and community forestry management under the influence of CBCM projects. Analyses focused on four groups of attributes: social correlates of current and future participation; fairness and CBCM performance; forest health; and economic benefits from CBCM participation.

A standard system of indicators and variables has been constructed for community forestry and livelihood development (Carney 2002; Chambers and Conway 1992; Christopher 2008; Chen et al. 2012). Some international organizations were consulted during the process of indicator design (MP 2007; CICI 2003; Don 2008; Mcdonalda and Laneb 2004), and our final set of indicators in this study includes a wide range of sustainable livelihood outcomes, including social, economic, ecological aspects, and CBCM factors (Table 1).
Table 1

The system of indicators and variables

Social aspect

Gender

Ethnic group

Educational level

Marriage status

Health status

Membership in the CBCM committee

Relationship among villagers

Economic aspect

Total assets (sum of income and property minus expenditures)

Total family income

The total value of fixed assets

The total value of household durable goods

The total value of livestock

Total household expenditure

Ecological aspect

The status of biodiversity conservation

Status of forest health

The need for protection of forest resources

CBCM

Membership in the CBCM committee

Participation in CBCM programs

Willingness to participate in CBCM in the future

Perception of farness in CBCM programs

Satisfaction with CBCM performance

Seven indicators were selected to represent social attributes: gender, ethnicity, educational attainment, marital status, health status, leadership, and relationships among villagers. “Leadership” is defined as people who were members of the CBCM committee or other organizations. “Relationship among villages” was assessed by evidence of collaboration in production and living, such as helping each other in farming and information sharing. Six indicators of economic status or livelihood were selected, including “Total Assets,” which is the sum of income and all property minus expenditures. Three variables address perceptions of forest health in relation to CBCM. Forest health could not be measured directly. Finally, five variables were chosen to measure participation in CBCM and perceptions of the fairness and success of the projects.

Findings

Social correlates of current and future participation

Virtually, all of the social variables are significantly associated with patterns in both current (or recent) participation (Table 2) and the willingness to participate in the future (Table 3).
Table 2

Contingency table of social variables versus participation in CBCM

 

No

Yes

Did you participate in CBCM?

Gender**

 Male

21

124

 Female

22

33

Ethnicitya

 Han

27

107

 Zang

13

45

 Hui

3

5

Education attained**

 Illiterate

24

19

 Elementary

8

38

 Junior high

11

68

 Senior high

0

32

Health**

 Good

20

120

 Average

11

23

 Poor

12

14

Marital status**

 Married

29

151

 Unmarried

14

6

Member of CBCM committee**

 Never

43

115

 Has been previously

0

24

 Yes

0

18

Relationship among villagers**

 Good

2

155

 Average

31

2

Two-way χ2 test were performed for subtable

** p < 0.05

aHui was dropped because of small numbers (i.e., only Han and Zang were compared)

Table 3

Contingency table of social variables versus willingness to participation in future CBCM projects

 

No

Yes

Would you participate in CBCM in the future?

Gender*

 Male

10

135

 Female

8

47

Ethnicitya**

 Han

7

127

 Zang

8

50

 Hui

3

5

Education attained**

 Illiterate

9

34

 Elementary

3

43

 Junior high

6

73

 Senior high

0

32

Health**

 Good

7

133

 Average

4

30

 Poor

7

19

Marital status**

 Married

10

170

 Unmarried

8

12

Member of CBCM committee**

 Never

18

140

 Has been previously

0

24

 Yes

0

18

Relationship among villagers**

 Good

3

164

 Average

15

18

Two-way χ 2 test were performed for subtable

p < 0.10; ** p < 0.05

aHui was dropped because of small numbers (i.e., only Han and Zang were compared)

Women are less likely to participate in CBCM projects (Table 2, p < 0.05). Even though more than 90 % of household decisions are made jointly, women only account for 21 % of CBCM participants. They are also less likely than men to indicate that they would participate in the future (Table 3, p < 0.05). Thus, a major challenge for improving CBCM design is to increase the level of participation by women.

There are three main ethnic groups in the study area: Han (67 %), Zang (29 %), and Hui (4 %). A mix of Han and Zang live around the Baimahe protected area, while the area around the Bikou protected area is composed of Han and Hui. However, current participation in CBCM project was not related to ethnicity (Table 2), even when the Hui respondents were dropped from the analysis (there were too few of them to be treated effectively by the statistical analysis). Community composition may nevertheless prove to be meaningful in the implementation of CBCM projects, and project failure is likely if ethnic makeup around the projected areas is not considered. In fact, Zang respondents were less likely than Han to indicate future participation (Table 3, p < 0.05).

Respondents with better education were more likely to participate in CBCM now (Table 2, p < 0.05) and in the future (Table 3, p < 0.05). In this study, 55 % of community residents have a junior high school education or above, and more than 40 % of residents have less than a junior high school education, and more than half of these are illiterate. The lack of education not only limits personal development but also directly impacts the sustainability of their livelihood. CBCM projects should, on one hand, improve educational environment, one the other hand, to increase the participation of people who have low educational level.

Those in better health were more likely to participate now (Table 2, p < 0.05) and in the future (Table 3, p < 0.05). Although the health status from 2006 to 2010 has improved to some degree, some critical problems were not resolved until recently, including the cost of medical treatment, inadequate medical staff, and the poor condition and limited financial support for rural medical stations.

Married people are more like to participate now (Table 2, p < 0.05) and in the future (Table 3, p < 0.05). In the survey, divorced and widowed people account for 10 % of households but fewer than 4 % of such community members participated in CBCM projects.

Current or former members of the CBCM committees are more like to participate now (Table 2, p < 0.05) and in the future (Table 3, p < 0.05). Such current or former members of the CBCM committee only account for 11 % of total households. High participation may in part be because community residents holding leadership positions generally have a higher educational level. As members of CBCM committee, they plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate the CBCM projects in their entirety. Therefore, these community members also have better understanding and greater enthusiasm for CBCM projects. Greater access to information may also lead to greater access to the benefits and programs of CBCM.

People who felt that the relationships among village residents was good are more like to participate now (Table 2, p < 0.05) and in the future (Table 3, p < 0.05), demonstrating the importance of the good community relations in the success of CBCM projects and livelihood development. Three aspects of community relationships are important: (1) the relationship among community residents in the same community, (2) the relationship among community residents in different communities, and (3) the relationship among different communities. A total of 79 % of households receive CBCM information through open announcements, and nearly 20 % of households learn about CBCM projects through communication with community residents. It is difficult for community residents who have poor community relationships to get useful information from other villagers. Lack of information results in missed opportunities to participate in CBCM projects and access other useful information.

A total of 83 % of households had good community relationships. The other 17 % of households have general or poor community relationships, most of them in poor health and/or widowed or divorced. Therefore, helping and improving community relationships is an important issue in achieving sustainable livelihood development.

Fairness and CBCM performance

The majority of all subgroups of respondents felt the CBCM process was only “partially” fair and were only “somewhat” satisfied with the committee’s performance (Tables 4, 5).
Table 4

Contingency table of social variables versus perceptions of the fairness of CBCM

 

Yes

Partially

Neverb

Do not know

Was the CBCM process fair?

Gender**

 Male

38

89

1

17

 Female

12

21

1

21

Ethnicitya*

 Han

27

81

2

24

 Zang

20

26

0

12

 Hui

3

3

0

2

Education attained**

 Illiterate

6

14

1

22

 Elementary

17

21

0

8

 Junior high

17

53

1

8

Senior high

10

22

0

0

Health**

 Good

38

83

1

18

 Average

7

16

0

11

 Poor

5

11

1

9

Marital status**

 Married

49

105

1

25

 Unmarried

1

5

1

13

Member of CBCM committee**

 Never

28

90

2

38

 Has been previously

10

14

0

0

 Yes

12

6

0

0

Relationship among villagers**

 Good

50

106

1

10

 Average

0

4

1

28

Two-way χ2 test were performed for subtable

p < 0.10; ** p < 0.05

aHui was dropped because of small numbers (i.e., only Han and Zang were compared)

b“Never” and “Do not know” were combined in the χ2

Table 5

Contingency table of social variables versus participation in CBCM

 

Yes

Somewhat

Nob

No not know

Satisfied with the CBCM committee’s performance?

Gender**

 Male

42

88

1

14

 Female

13

21

1

20

Ethnicitya*

 Han

31

81

2

20

 Zang

21

25

0

12

 Hui

3

3

0

2

Education attained**

 Illiterate

6

14

1

22

 Elementary

20

21

0

5

 Junior high

18

53

1

7

 Senior high

11

21

0

0

Health*

 Good

44

78

1

17

 Average

7

18

0

9

 Poor

4

13

1

8

Marital status**

 Married

54

101

1

24

 Unmarried

1

8

1

10

Member of CBCM committee**

 Never

32

90

2

34

 Has been previously

11

13

0

0

 Yes

12

6

0

0

Relationship among villagers**

 Good

50

106

1

10

 Average

0

6

1

26

Two-way χ2 test were performed for subtable

p < 0.10; ** p < 0.05

aHui was dropped because of small numbers (i.e., only Han and Zang were compared)

b“Never” and “Do not know” were combined in the χ2

The patterns in participation were mirrored in perceptions of the fairness and effectiveness of CBCM implementation. Respondents who were male, people of Han ethnicity, better educated, in better health, married, and who perceive there to be better relations among villagers were all more likely to view the CBCM as fair and to be satisfied with the CBCM committee. Members of the CBCM committee were, not surprisingly, more likely to view the CBCM as fair, but even here, 33 % of CBCM committee members view the process as only “partially” fair (Table 4).

Forest health

Despite the concerns about fairness and participation noted above, attitudes about forest health conservation generally improved from 2006 to 2010 (Table 6). Compared with 2006, respondents in 2010 were more likely to view the status of biodiversity conservation as “good” (p < 0.0001) and forest health as “good” (p < 0.0001).
Table 6

Contingency table of changes (2006–2010) in perceptions of forest conservation

 

Year of survey

2006

2010

Status of biodiversity conservation**

 Good

126

189

 Not good

74

11

Status of forest health**

 Good

160

40

 Not good

184

16

Is there a need for forest protection?*

 Yes

182

194

 No

16

6

Are activities in place to protect the forest?**

 Yes

74

124

 No

126

24

Two-way χ2 test were performed for each subtable

p < 0.05; ** p < 0.0001

Similarly, more respondents in 2010 believe that there is a need for forest protection (p < 0.05), although this analysis is hampered by the low number of negative responses. There was a dramatic increase in the number of respondents who were aware of activities that would protect forests (Table 6, p < 0.0001).

Generally, people who participated in CBCM were more likely to view the status of biodiversity protection and forest health as “good” (Table 7), and people who did not believe there is a need for forest protection were much less likely to participate (p < 0.0001). This suggests the possibility of a self-reinforcing process in which CBCM participation increases demands for forest protection.
Table 7

Contingency tables 2010 perceptions of forest conservation versus whether respondents participated in CBCM

 

No

Yes

Did you participate in CBCM?

Status of biodiversity conservation**

 Good

34

155

 Not good

9

2

Status of forest health**

 Good

30

152

 Not good

10

4

Is there a need for forest protection?**

 Yes

7

157

 No

36

0

Two-way χ2 test were performed for each subtable

p < 0.05; ** p < 0.0001

Economic benefits of CBCM participation

Participation in CBCM was strongly associated with greater family assets, income, and property (Fig. 1). Total assets (income + property − expenses) in families that participated were dramatically higher than the assets of non-participants (t test, p < 0.001). This is also true for both income (p < 0.001) and the value of durable goods (p < 0.001).
Fig. 1

Patterns in livelihood among those did or did not participate in CBCM (mean ± 95 % CI). Assets equal the sum of income and types of property minus expenditures. Total n = 200

The fired tea machine is one of the most common devices that contributed to changes in the fixed assets of household production from 2006 to 2010. Tea has become the most important source of farming income in some communities, and a fired tea machine is a necessary tool.

Increases in durable goods for households associated with CBCM projects also involved motorcycles, household appliances, and energy-saving stoves. The availability of motorcycles reflects one of the greatest changes in household durable goods from 2006 to 2010. During this time, the motorcycle became the main household vehicle.

The value of fixed assets and livestock did not differ significantly between participants and non-participants (Fig. 1). In the past, non-government organizations have attempted to implement CBCM projects focused on livestock. However, most of these projects failed. One of main reasons for these failures is that these CBCM projects did not adequately consider the damage to forest resources caused by livestock.

Household income, as one of the core indicators of livelihood sustainability from an economic perspective (Cinner et al. 2010), showed a strong correlation with CBCM participation (Fig. 1). During this survey, the families involved in CBCM had a higher agricultural income and a higher rate of migrant worker income than families not participating in CBCM. However, the forest product income in families participating in the CBCM was lower than that of non-participating families.

The largest income gap comes from migrant working income. “Migrant work” is short-term employment that local villagers take in the off-season to earn extra money from non-agricultural work. These jobs are available both within and outside the village. For example, villagers may use their own agricultural production vehicles to earn money from at outside jobs during the off-season. This income is included in migrant work income. Women who go to the nearest city for childcare positions in the off-season are also considered as migrant workers.

Discussion

These data demonstrate that participation in CBCM projects has a positive influence on family income, local livelihood development, and forestry management. However, problems persist and the results suggest that there are opportunities for policy improvements to CBCM implementation in the future.

Improvement of policy and mechanism

Three significant problems related to state’s policy and mechanism should be systematically improved: (1) the rural medical security system; (2) the support mechanism of educational access; and (3) the compensation mechanism for wildlife accidents.

The Chinese government has implemented a rural medical security system, but only some medical costs associated with a hospital stay are reimbursable. In particular, outpatient costs or costs associated with treatment at a non-medical institution are not reimbursed. This reimbursement structure directly impacts the course of disease treatment and health status. There are usually rural medical stations in communities, but they are often limited in crucial ways including limited doctor access, poorly equipped facilities, and limited financial support. Due to primitive living conditions, most professionally trained doctors are not willing to work in rural villages. Doctors who do work at rural medical stations serve poor populations and may find it difficult to earn a long-term living. In this study area, most farmers usually do not have spare cash to see doctors. Doctors generally get paid for medical treatment only after crop harvests at the end of the year. However, throughout the year the medical station requires cash to purchase drugs, supplies, and medical equipment from time to time. Some CBCM projects have addressed this problem by providing some medical funding and lectures on disease prevention and treatment, especially in gynecology. However, in order to fundamentally improve the health status of residents in local communities, a rural health insurance system must be put into practice (Chen et al. 2012). It is also important to address the shortage of doctors, the condition and equipping of medical facilities, and finding ways to secure consistent funding for rural medical stations in the long term.

Analysis shows that the lack of education and illiteracy not only limits personal development, but also directly impacts livelihood. For example, many common activities require specific knowledge, such as newly developed agricultural practices, livestock breeding, and employment outside the home. New ways to improve the education must be explored in order to achieve improvements in livelihood sustainability for community residents. Some CBCM projects provide opportunities and platforms for increasing education, including training and lectures for project participants to provide community resident knowledge and skills. However, in order to have a positive impact on the livelihood of the more than 40 % of community residents with poor education, the government must provide a long-term and effective mechanism to improve educational access in rural communities (Chen et al. 2012). In some areas, the establishment of community libraries, regular lectures, and skills training have proven effective in lifting the education level of community residents. Such measures should be extended and expanded.

In recent years, wildlife accidents have occurred at a high frequency. For example, there were many incidents of wild boar damaging crops, and in some cases people were injured. There is no compensation mechanism for such damage. According to the law, the private possession of firearms is prohibited, and because boar is a nationally protected animal, citizens may not kill them. Thus, an integrated wild animal accident compensation system is needed (Wei et al. 2009; Chen et al. 2012). However, since there are no standards-based regulations in existence, design of compensation scheme has been long delayed. Such conflicts easily disrupt the relationship between villagers and the local government. Facing this bottleneck of policy and law, government must take a series of effective measures and policies to compensate for loss of local community residents and control frequency of wild animal damages and regions.

Transformation of government roles

In China, government, as an important actor of power network (Marudi et al. 2012), plays leading role in the management of nature reserves. In some hotspots, the conflict between development and conservation is obvious. What role should the government play in CBCM applications? The CBCM model is not meant to diminish the involvement of government, but rather transform its role. For example, government should still play an important actor in mediating disputes of natural resource use and management among communities, providing appropriate legal instruments, providing necessary technical support, etc. (Chen et al. 2012; Schusser et al. 2012). What is more important is that the government should ensure that communication channels are open between government and communities. Full and productive communication between local government and communities facilitates timely feedback on policy, reduces management cost, and improves effectiveness of natural resource management (Zhu et al. 2011). The government can provide information for the community on new economic models and techniques (Ostrom 1990; Zhu et al. 2012). For example, in order to exploit the advantages of local resources, communities can try to cooperate with the outside world, such as with the organic tea projects in Liziba. Local community residents sell their original tea to the Liziba tea factory, and the company produces tea and sells their own tea brand. Various stakeholders benefit from the process. With market integration and capital flow, local residents are more likely to participate in the market and cooperation with the company would increase the rate of return on land and labor. As for the tea company, purchasing local tea will to reduce costs and capital risk, and they will have a stable supply of tea. Local government and NGO’s can mediate the negotiations and conflicts between communities and companies to help them reach agreements about prices and the balance of bargaining power. However, government mediation should not become interference, and guidelines for such government and NGO mediations should be established.

Improvement of CBCM project design

CBCM projects have played significant and positive roles in community forestry management and livelihood development, but some deficiencies and problems in project design remain. The conceptual goals of some CBCM projects are clear, but local practical issues can erode such clarity when the projects are implemented. It is often difficult for some CBCM projects to adapt to local problems after implementation. Therefore, several recommendations can be made to improve CBCM project design in future. First, the design and implementation periods should be consistent across projects and include clear measures of success. Second, efforts must be made to anticipate and prepare advance strategies to address possibility of unforeseen incidents. Third, CBCM projects must consider local traditional customs, incorporate them into local project designs, and respect them absolutely. Fourth, establishment of CBCM committees should be democratic and involve all relevant stakeholders, different ethnic groups, women, and other special representatives. CBCM projects should be open and competitive for all the households and groups. A lack of democracy and fairness not only directly affects CBCM success but also impacts the future of the whole community. Fifth, the affairs of the communities should be solved internally and CBCM project organizers and other stakeholders should not interfere. Sixth, CBCM projects should be adaptive and maintain continuous assessment and development (Chen et al. 2012; Zhu et al. 2011, 2012). Seventh, CBCM projects should especially consider the avoidance of market risk and long-term information access.

Strengthening of community participation

The increase in positive perceptions and participation in CBCM projects is not only important to sustainable use and management of forest resources but also the key premise for sustainable livelihood development of local community residents in the long term. Although this paper shows that CBCM participants have better attitudes toward forest resource conservation, such positive attitudes need to be maintained and nurtured through effective CBCM design. Because CBCM participation improves attitudes toward conservation, long-term improvements in forest conservation are tied to CBCM programs that attract greater participation.

Conclusion

Both achievements and challenges can be found in CBCM projects in northwest China. Solutions to problems will require positive cooperation among stakeholders. At the level of governance, improving the policy and mechanism is a long-term task. Government needs to adjust its role in natural resource management, especially in the area of community forestry. CBCM project design should be adapted to the realities of local communities and avoid one-size-fits-all applications across regions. It is critical to strengthen community participation through more sensitive project design and clear attention to who is not participating and who is being left out. Such improvements in design will lead to both improved natural resources conservation and increased livelihoods for all.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank much for the support of leaders and officers in management bureau of Gansu Baishuijiang national natural reserve in China. They also thank Prof. Wei Huilan, Lanzhou University, for providing much help and guidance in data collection, especially for sharing a lot of her study experiences, and Prof. Shivakoti, Dr. Bernadette, Dr. Roland in AIT, and Prof. Inoue in University of Tokyo, for providing much cherished suggestions on this study. Of course, the authors also appreciate the editors and reviewers of Regional Environmental Change for their comments and support.

Open Access

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haiyun Chen
    • 1
  • Ting Zhu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Max Krott
    • 1
  • David Maddox
    • 2
  1. 1.Chair of Forest and Nature Conservation Policy, Georg-August-University GoettingenGoettingenGermany
  2. 2.Sound Science LLC in USANew YorkUSA

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