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Gewählte Doctoral Thesis:

Lemlem Aregu Behailu (2014): Resilience of communal grasslands in the Ethiopian highlands: Integrating gender and social learning.
Doctoral Thesis - Institut für Agrar- und Forstökonomie, BOKU-Universität für Bodenkultur, pp 164. UB BOKU obvsg FullText

Data Source: ZID Abstracts
The study aimed at understanding how a community in the Ethiopian highlands has been able to sustainably manage its communal pasture, and effectively coped with various shocks and stresses over the last 40 years. The study focuses on one case study and data was collected through a range of qualitative methods. Gender disaggregated data was collected and analyzed. The results show that three factors played a key role in enabling the community to cope with the impact of policy changes. Firstly, traditional leaders seized the window of opportunity and mobilized the community. Secondly, the community established an informal institution to govern the access to and use of the communal grassland. Thirdly, the community was able to effectively interact with various official government agencies to safeguard their autonomy, and to enforce the rules. While the Kuwalla pasture has been managed in a fairly sustainable manner over 24 years, social inequality remains. Indeed, women are excluded from the informal institution. The study shows that gender-blindness is problematic for three reasons: Firstly, it resulted in the sub-optimal use of the communal pasture. Secondly, future adaptation options might be overlooked. Thirdly, undermine legitimacy of the institution, thus threatening the whole management system. It underlines also to address shortcomings such as the unequal appropriation of benefit; it is useful to understand the rationale behind farmers’ current management choices. Finally the study concludes that to be resilient, a management system does not only need to ensure ecological sustainability. It also needs to ensure social sustainability, i.e. the equitable distribution of benefits from common resources, thereby contributing to social justice.

Betreuer: Darnhofer Ika
1. Berater: Wurzinger Maria
2. Berater: Zollitsch Werner

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