Year published :July 2016

Pages :322

Size :15x23 cm.

Color photograph :18

Black & White illustrations :2, with 8 maps

Rights :Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam

ISBN: 9788776941673

Governing Cambodia's Forests: The International Politics of Policy Reform


By Andrew Cock

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.


  • Examines the loss of the last major area of pristine forest in SE Asia.
  • Offers an important contribution to the literature on aid donor-government interactions and the way these impinge upon the poor.
  • Greatly contributes to understanding of the politics of forestry and foreign aid.

About the Author 

Andrew Cock started working at the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability in July 2015. He has held postdoctoral positions in the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University and the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo. Prior to joining UNU-IAS he was a visiting fellow at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto.

Andrew Cock has worked extensively on environmental issues in Southeast Asia and Australia including as forestry advisor with the NGO Forum on Cambodia (2000-2004). He is a specialist on political economy and environmental change. His research activities encompass business and politics in Southeast Asia; the political economy of sustainable development; and the emerging resource constraints engendered in the interaction between the world’s agricultural and energy systems and policies aimed at mitigating climate change.

This research agenda has resulted in the publication of the book Governing Cambodia’s Forests: The International Politics of Policy Reform, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) Press, Copenhagen, 2016, and various articles including: “Traditional Khmer Systems of Forest Management” (with Peter Swift), Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (JRAS), Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2015, 153–73; “Anticipating an Oil Boom: The ‘Resource Curse’ Thesis in the Play of Cambodian Politics”, Pacific Affairs, Vol. 83, No. 3, September 2010, 525–46; “External Actors and the Relative Autonomy of the Ruling Elite in Post-UNTAC Cambodia”, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2, June 2010, 241–65; “Tropical Forests in the Global States System”, International Affairs, Vol. 84, No. 2, March 2008, 315–33.

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