This article presents a critical analysis of what caused the failure of Australia’s first Community Forest Management (CFM) trial. We explore how ‘community’ was conceptualised and represented through the dynamic CFM process, leading to contradictions and conflicts that could not be resolved. We examine the governance structures and institutions that were created to try to enable community participation in forest management. Ambiguity and uncertainty in the power and purpose of the CFM organisation, as well as power relationships within the organisation, all contributed to conflicts that eventually tore the CFM process apart.
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