The destruction of Cambodia’s forests gathered pace from the 1990s, receiving much international publicity at the time from environmental NGOs but far less scholarly treatment. That deficiency is now addressed by this detailed and sophisticated case study of the process by which aid donors and Cambodia’s elites worked to designate much of the country’s forests as suitable for industrial timber production, resulting in the marginalization and impoverishment of forest dwellers and ultimately the transformation of forests into enclosed plantations.
The study highlights the way in which externally sponsored reform agendas are manipulated by domestic elites. As such it offers a powerful critique of the literature on ‘ownership’ as well as a clear and persuasive argument as to why forestry protection programmes so often fail within the modern international system. The book will appeal to a broad readership interested in political change in contemporary SE Asia, the politics of foreign aid, and those concerned with the conservation of the world’s remaining tropical forests.