AbstractsLaw & Legal Studies


Mainstreaming natural resource management (NRM) within a community-driven development program to achieve more sustainable rural development involves diverse and complex dynamics of resource governance. Social capital has been identified as one of the key elements in facilitating collective action that could enhance the effectiveness of resource governance in socio-ecological systems. In the context of NRM, this concept focuses on social networks, specifically, on the mixes of ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ relations that operate through engagements within (bonding or internal ties) and between (bridging or external ties) social networks. Linking social capital concerns the ‘vertical’ relations that are found in both bonding and bridging forms of social capital, with an additional focus on relations with formal institutions beyond the community's local resources. The thesis explores the effectiveness (as well as the lack thereof) of a communitydriven development (CDD) program to improve local NRM management. Empirical evidence provided in two South East Sulawesi case studies revealed three main findings: (1) high levels of network density in local institutions indicated the existence of strong bonding ties that theoretically should increase the possibilities for collective action in resource management; (2) regardless of the long involvement in a CDD program, bridging social capital remained weak; and (3) vertical relations continued to dominate processes of engagement within and across social networks, and with higher levels of government in the context of decentralised resource governance. Findings from the study of this CDD-NRM program indicate the need to: establish a network of expertise among the villages; develop a clear mechanism of accountability within the framework of the representation system; facilitate hamlet interactions that enable a reporting-back mechanism through the representation system; provide secure but accountable financial transfers from higher authorities to the village level; and provide incentives for better resource governance.