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GeoJournal

, Volume 55, Issue 2–4, pp 599–606 | Cite as

Seeing the forest for the trees: Local-level resource use and forest restitution in postsocialist Bulgaria

  • Barbara A. Cellarius
Article

Abstract

Recent legislation for the restitution of ownership rights to, and subsequent management of, formerly privately owned forests in postsocialist Bulgaria has focused largely albeit not exclusively on the restored forests from the perspective of timber production, that is, `forest' equals `harvestable timber resource'. Using ethnographic data collected in rural Rhodope Mountain communities, this paper presents a local-level perspective on forests and forest use, including the meaning that forests hold for local residents as a source of non-timber forest products such as mushrooms and medicinal plants, of animal pasture, and of firewood for household heating and cooking. This local social perspective is then contrasted with the timber-resource focus of the forestry legislation and subsequent planning for forest use. The scale of forest ownership – in part a function of the restitution legislation – is also addressed in relation to the practicalities of resource management. Generally, the paper demonstrates a mismatch between the postsocialist forestry legislation and local practice and conditions with regard to forests and the natural resources therein.

Bulgaria forests non-timber forest products postsocialist resource use restitution rural economic strategies 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara A. Cellarius
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Social AnthropologyHalle/SaaleGermany

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