Sustainability 2014, 6(3), 1462-1488; doi:10.3390/su6031462
Article

Group Inequality and Environmental Sustainability: Insights from Bangladesh and Kenyan Forest Commons

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Received: 4 December 2013; in revised form: 25 February 2014 / Accepted: 10 March 2014 / Published: 20 March 2014
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: The paper contributes to understanding the interactions of environmental and social dimensions of sustainability in situations of acute group inequalities. Using case studies of Mount Elgon in Kenya and Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh it shows the importance of ethnicity based inequalities in defining sustainability outcomes. The paper explores, first, the mechanisms through which dominant ethnic groups are able to exert influence on resource management at the expense of less powerful groups; and second, the consequences of ethnic inequalities for resource uses within ostensibly democratic systems. It combines information from social and political history with remote sensing data to explore causes, processes and patterns behind spatial trends in the study of forests. The paper concludes that efficacy of national democracy and its institutions in achieving positive environmental outcomes depends on the power relations among social groups, particularly in historically contested contexts. Further, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability cannot be treated separately and the issue of equity among groups, ethnic or otherwise, needs to be recognised in policies for sustainable development. The study points out the need for further research into integrating socio-political history with spatial data to better understand social and spatial distribution of policy impacts.
Keywords: ethnicity; sustainability; equity; democratic governance; forest commons
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MDPI and ACS Style

Matin, N.; Islam, M.S.; Mbuvi, M.T.E.; Odit, B.O.; Ongugo, P.O.; Syed, M.A. Group Inequality and Environmental Sustainability: Insights from Bangladesh and Kenyan Forest Commons. Sustainability 2014, 6, 1462-1488.

AMA Style

Matin N, Islam MS, Mbuvi MTE, Odit BO, Ongugo PO, Syed MA. Group Inequality and Environmental Sustainability: Insights from Bangladesh and Kenyan Forest Commons. Sustainability. 2014; 6(3):1462-1488.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Matin, Nilufar; Islam, Mohammad S.; Mbuvi, Musingo T.E.; Odit, Bernard O.; Ongugo, Paul O.; Syed, Mohammad A. 2014. "Group Inequality and Environmental Sustainability: Insights from Bangladesh and Kenyan Forest Commons." Sustainability 6, no. 3: 1462-1488.

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