6.10.00 - Rural development

About Unit

The goal of the Rural Development Research Group is twofold:  1) increase the knowledge about the contributions that natural areas such as forests make to the livelihood, health and well-being of people living in rural areas and 2) increase rural people’s participation in the management of these areas to bring about just and sustainable natural resource policies.  Limited knowledge and underestimation and devaluing of traditional and local knowledge constrain rural communities and organizations in their efforts to nurture and encourage just and sustainable frameworks for managing natural resources upon which their lives depend in smaller or bigger extent. Limited engagement of rural people in natural resource management creates unwanted dependencies of rural people on government programs, policies and development efforts.

The benefits of this knowledge will include greater collaboration between rural communities and natural resource managers and revitalizing of eco-technology in managing natural resources to include sustainable rural development and transition to sustainable future. Greater collaboration may result in new possibilities for innovation and sharing of management responsibilities, increased resilience of rural communities to meet economic and environmental challenges, and greater likelihood of protecting forest ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide. Revitalization of eco-technologies includes use of traditional knowledge in managing natural resources (e.g., forest fire management, harvesting fruits without damaging the forest, harvesting medicinal plants, agroforestry systems and so on) as well as science based techniques of ecosystem services management.

Our work will focus on active citizenship and participatory governance, information management and technology use, policy research and development, rural health and well-being, rural tourism, and social resilience of rural communities faced with environmental change.


State of Knowledge

Rural development is a contested concept. Rich literature exists as there are number of scientific journals related to rural development. There has been a general trends to shift from expert-lead top-down style to more participatory process oriented development.

Current discussions related to rural development include safeguards and REDD+, genetic resource, intellectual property right, traditional knowledge and many other topics.