Sango Mahanty

Sango Mahanty
Australian National University | ANU · Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific

PhD, ANU

About

71
Publications
17,976
Reads
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Introduction
Sango Mahanty is a human geographer working on the political ecology of commodity networks, forests, land and agrarian change in mainland SE Asia. Her current research studies how communities and civil society in this region are responding to dramatic processes of nature-society rupture. Sango has collaborated with civil society and government in Australia and internationally and is based in the Resources, Environment & Development Program in ANU's Crawford School of Public Policy.
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - December 2019
Australian National University
Position
  • Managing Director
October 2007 - January 2015
Australian National University
Position
  • ARC Future Fellow
August 2001 - September 2003
Deakin University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (71)
Article
Full-text available
Although South‐East Asia's trading networks have existed for millennia, recent decades have seen markets dramatically intensify in the region's frontiers, bringing social and environmental upheaval. Within political ecology, such transitions are framed as frontier incorporation into global capitalism – a process that has been ongoing since European...
Article
This article extends understandings of “shadow economies” – networked, economic exchanges outside formal state regulation – and specifically how they are socially, economically and politically nested within frontier landscapes. The article analyses two related commodities that are often cast differently upon the legality spectrum: timber and cassav...
Article
The green economy now dominates global environmental governance, but its potentially insidious inner workings and effects remain poorly understood. To probe this problem, it is necessary to explore how value is created and distributed in the green economy, and how the production processes of new green commodities like carbon credits shape the socia...
Article
In the search for effective approaches to sustainable development, a ‘green economy’ has been touted by key UN bodies and donors as a ‘triple-win’ solution. Through a political economy lens, this paper examines the prospects and barriers of this approach. The analysis focuses on the Aceh Green intervention in Indonesia, initiated in 2007. Aceh Gree...
Article
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The 2015 United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate reinforces actions to conserve and enhance forests as carbon reservoirs. A decade after sub-national demonstration projects to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) commenced, we examine why many REDD+ schemes appear to have fuelled social conflict while having limited...
Article
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Social and environmental safeguards are now commonplace in policies and procedures that apply to certain kinds of foreign investment in developing countries. Prominent amongst these is the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), which is commonly tied to policies and procedures relating to investments that have an impact on ‘indigenou...
Article
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Despite recent attention to “frontier” green economies and the governance of emerging ecosystem services, the specific division of labour in these economies has been little studied. As many such initiatives are in the global South, labour’s marginality potentially contributes to the existing precariousness of those who are more often identified as...
Cover Page
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Ordered lines of rubber that tower over a red, dirt road. Rolling hills of maize that locals have dubbed ‘bald mountains’ as far as the eye can see. Valleys and foothills blanketed with banana, cassava, and watermelon fields. These images characterise the changing rural landscapes of mainland Southeast Asia, where a mosaic of rice, upland gardens,...
Article
The cross-border timber trade between Cambodia and Vietnam provides a window into frictions between different tiers of government in Vietnam. Divergent central and provincial government interests in the cross-border timber trade show that state legitimacy is multi-dimensional and can stem from conflicting sources. The central government's recent de...
Article
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Between Vietnam’s independence and its reunification in 1975, the country’s socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of “land to the tiller”. During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government’s “egalitarian” approach to land access was central to the mass support...
Article
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Between Vietnam's independence and its reunification in 1975, the country's socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of "land to the tiller". During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government's "egalitarian" approach to land access was central to the mass support...
Article
Full-text available
Cassava and timber trade along the Cambodia-Vietnam border.
Article
An investigation of land rentals by Vietnamese farmers in Cambodian border districts reveals the contingent nature of state sovereignty in a postconflict borderland. Cross-border leasing activity has prompted criticism that Cambodia's “national sovereignty” has been weakened. Although it is in the interests of the ruling party to demonstrate firm c...
Article
In Vietnam, initial programs to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) have proliferated through international finance and new governance regimes for climate change mitigation. National capacity and legal frameworks have been adjusted to make the country eligible for REDD+ financing. In some local areas, activities have...
Article
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Global economic change and policy interventions are driving transitions from long-fallow swidden (LFS) systems to alternative land uses in Southeast Asia’s uplands. This study presents a systematic review of how these transitions impact upon livelihoods and ecosystem services in the region. Over 17 000 studies published between 1950 and 2015 were n...
Article
This paper examines how a boom in industrial cassava served as a ‘gateway’ to intensify capitalist relations in Cambodia's north eastern borderland. Situated on Cambodia's border with Vietnam, Mondulkiri province has experienced a rapid increase in cassava production and trade since 2006, with transformative consequences for the region's forests an...
Article
Vietnam's uplands have been increasingly integrated into commodity production for global markets. This paper focuses on the role of the cassava trader in connecting upland villagers as cassava producers to an emerging global cassava market. In Vietnam's Central Highlands, ethnic minority villagers engaging in a mixed economy of subsistence and cash...
Article
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p>This paper presents selected findings from a 5-year design-based research case study of the evolution of an online role play that allows postgraduate students to explore the complexities inherent in land rights negotiations between indigenous peoples and others. In the context of Laurillard’s (2002) conversational framework and a design-based res...
Article
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Analysis of commodity chains has provided important insights on how power, resource and market access mediate the distribution of benefits and risks. Given this analytical potential, Commodity Chain Analysis (CCA) is now being applied to the study of biofuels and carbon markets to gain systematic insight into the circumstances, relationships and tr...
Article
Interventions to ‘improve’ the human condition through democratic and capitalist ideals increasingly draw on capital and markets to influence governance in line with Western mandates of state building. As a major recent example, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation ‘plus’ (REDD+) develops new market regimes to govern, financ...
Conference Paper
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Swidden (or shifting) agriculture has been practised in the uplands of Southeast Asia for centuries and is estimated to support up to 500 million people, most of whom are poor and rely on natural resources. Dramatic forest and agricultural land-use transformations have resulted in social, economic and ecological impacts that have affected the exten...
Article
Maintaining a liveable environment in Vietnam's polluted craft villages is a daily challenge for state authorities and residents. Neighbouring urban populations demand that the state effectively curtails and manages pollution, while local residents prioritise their livelihoods and routinely flout regulations. The commune official, tasked with the s...
Article
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This review is associated with the Evidence-Based Forestry initiative, a collaboration between CIFOR and partner institutions supporting systematic reviews of evidence to enable better-informed decisions about forests and landscapes.
Book
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Cambodia's headlong 'development' since 1993 has given the country one of the highest growth rates in Asia. This clear-headed, disturbing and often poignant volume counts up the human and ecological costs of uncontrolled 'development', deforestation, land-grabbing, foreign intrusions and endemic corruption on Cambodia's depleted landscape and on it...
Article
Swidden agriculture or shifting cultivation has been practised in the uplands of Southeast Asia for centuries and is estimated to support up to 500 million people – most of whom are poor, natural resource reliant uplanders. Recently, however, dramatic land-use transformations have generated social, economic and ecological impacts that have affected...
Article
Although corruption is a core issue in discourses on Southeast Asian states and the region's illegal timber trade, its specific meanings, characteristics, and role are poorly understood. Our ethnographic study of corruption and timber trade in the lower Mekong uncovers the relationships, dealings, and networks that enable illegal timber flows. We f...
Article
Vietnam's rural provinces are home to thousands of craft villages; communities engaged in small- and medium-scale manufacturing of a range of goods, from recycled paper products to processed food. Since the liberalization of the Vietnamese economy in 1986, craft villages have played a significant role in poverty reduction and livelihood diversifica...
Article
Concern over social equity dominates current debates about payments for ecosystem services and reduced deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Yet, despite the apprehension that these initiatives may undermine equity, the term is generally left undefined. This paper presents a systematic framework for the analysis of equity that can be used t...
Article
Market-based interventions to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) enable the carbon stored in land and forests to be traded as a new and intangible form of property. Using examples from Cambodia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, we examine the property negotiations underpinning this new forest carbon economy. We...
Article
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International discussions on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) foresee payment for environmental services (PES) schemes as an important mechanism to provide local incentives for the conservation and enhancement of carbon stocks. There are concerns, however, about the potential impacts of REDD+ and PES on local liv...
Article
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Despite a raft of government initiatives, Vietnam's rapidly growing craft villages—rural hubs for small-scale industry—produce alarming levels of water pollution that seriously affects human health and the environment. Framing water quality as a commons dilemma creates the scope for appropriately designed, collaborative institutions that better add...
Article
This paper shows how the implementation of Vietnam«SQ»s recent biodiversity conservation policy in Ba Vi National Park has increased the economic value of nature, created sustained conflict, and exacerbated agrarian differentiation in an upland village in northern Vietnam. Increased global and national interest in biodiversity conservation has inte...
Article
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Interventions to conserve carbon stored in forests are central to the emerging global climate change regime. Widely referred to as REDD+, these interventions engage local resource holders in contracts to restrict their use of land and forests in exchange for conditional benefits, effectively creating a market for forest carbon—a new and intangible...
Article
Global conservation discourses and practices increasingly rely on market-based solutions to fulfill the dual objective of forest conservation and economic development. Although varied, these interventions are premised on the assumption that natural resources are most effectively managed and preserved while benefiting livelihoods if the market-incen...
Conference Paper
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Vietnam's craft villages contain many family-based workshops that specialize in 'traditional' handicrafts as well as newer commodities such as recycled products. The economic benefits brought by recent and rapid growth in the number and size of craft villages are, however, diminished by water pollution and risks to health, agriculture, and other li...
Article
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Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) has attracted significant attention in Asia in recent years, with around 25 percent of forests currently outside direct State management. Advocates of CFM suggest that it has the potential to achieve sustainable forest management in a way that improves the welfare of the rural poor. Whether this potential is re...
Book
'Everybody talks about payments for environmental services nowadays, yet we still chronically lack good case studies systematically analyzing the experiences out there. This book fills an important gap by bringing together in-depth analyses of carbon-focused PES and PES-like schemes from three tropical continents. Using a sustainable livelihoods ap...
Article
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The term ‘partnership’ has become a watch-word for development organisations that aim to mobilise the resources and collaboration needed to achieve long-term goals such as poverty reduction and sustainable resource management. Achieving effective collaboration in practice, however, can be challenging. This article adds to recent discussions on what...
Article
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Recent years have seen a growing interest in the role and potential of community based forest management (CBFM) 1 as a vehicle for poverty reduction. Some analysts suggest that CBFM initiatives have limited potential for poverty reduction because they are prone to elite capture; focus on low value, degraded forests; emphasise forests rather than in...
Article
Project monitoring is now a standard requirement in natural resource management programs, bringing opportunities for greater accountability, adaptive management and social learning. While considerable effort has gone into designing appropriate monitoring frameworks and indicators for marine and coastal management, there has been less sharing of the...
Article
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The importance of learning in natural resource management (NRM) is being recognized by an increasing number of scholars and practitioners. A learning approach to NRM applies principles and theories of adult, organizational and social learning, and is underpinned by three core elements: systems thinking, negotiation, and reflection. By combining lea...
Article
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A strategic approach to local sustainability assessment requires that sustainability implications of proposed policies, plans and programmes are evaluated. These evaluations need to critically consider organizational structures, processes and outcomes. The establishment of ‘communities of practice’, groups or networks of practitioners with shared i...
Article
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The Millennium Development Goals remind us of the fundamental relationship between poverty reduction and equitable and sustainable development. Community based approaches to natural resource management aim to work on these processes concurrently. However, there are diverse views on the effectiveness of Community Based Natural Resource Management (C...
Chapter
... As only low local engagement was achieved, a more limited learning outcome resulted, and ... Collaborative Learning: Bridging Scales and Interests 117 coastal resource management in the Pacific ... Without partnerships across scales, national and local levels begin to operate in ...
Article
Experience with community-based biodiversity conservation programs in the 1980s and 1990s contributed to the conviction among donor agencies and researchers that such programs must be based on the active support of local resource users, appropriate incentives, and institutional support. Yet the continuing struggles of practitioners to implement con...
Article
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Research in common property, participatory resource management, and community development points to the central importance of organizational arrangements in conservation and development interventions. The dilemma facing contemporary conservation practitioners is how best to assist and facilitate such arrangements in support of participatory resourc...
Article
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With much of the emphasis in recent discussions on India's parks being on issues of community participation, this paper instead directs its attention to how the internal dynamics of government agencies and the relationships between NGOs, agencies and donors can influence the conduct of conservation programmes. These issues are examined through a ca...
Article
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Activities to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) are under development in several countries with tropical forest. There are concerns that these activities could have negative impacts on rural livelihoods by restricting rural population's access to forest resources. Paying rural people to participate in the protection of fore...
Article
Full-text available
A strategic approach to local sustainability requires that the sustainability implications of proposed policies, plans and programs are assessed. This often requires organisational change. The establishment of communities of practice, groups or networks of practitioners with shared interests has been a helpful mechanism for change in a wide range o...
Article
Full-text available
Vietnam's craft villages contain many family-based workshops that specialize in 'traditional' handicrafts as well as newer commodities such as recycled products. The economic benefits brought by recent and rapid growth in the number and size of craft villages are, however, diminished by water pollution and risks to health, agriculture, and other li...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents findings from a recent global study that assessed the impacts of Payments for Environmental Service (PES) schemes on livelihoods, and implications for the design of incentive mechanisms for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). It focuses particularly on two key areas that are important to the loca...
Article
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"The policy environment for community forest management in Asia ranges from being supportive to absent to opposing. Where enabling policies do exist, local stakeholders often do not know their rights and responsibilities. Where such policies are absent or opposing, the challenge has been to gain recognition for continuing informal practices of fore...
Article
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"Community-based forest management has attracted significant attention in Asia, in part because of a belief in its potential to improve the welfare of the estimated 450 million impoverished people living in and around forests in Asia. The extent to which this potential is realised, however, depends strongly upon whether communities are able to secu...
Article
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"National Parks like the Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarahole) National Park can be seen as cultural landscapes that embody and reflect the historical, social and economic relationships between people and place. This article highlights that complex social relationships and processes of change underlie contemporary park management issues, such as conflict over...
Article
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"Does seeing water quality as a ‘complex commons’ create new windows for environmental management? Vietnam’s craft villages are rural villages with many small family-based workshops, specializing in the production of ‘traditional’ handicrafts as well as newer activities such as solid waste recycling. Recent growth in the number and size of craft vi...