Governing Cambodia's Forests

The International Politics of Policy Reform

Andrew Cock

322 pp., illustrated, 18 colour, 2 b&w and 8 maps
NIAS Monographs # 131
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Hardback - 2016, Available
ISBN 978-87-7694-166-6, £65
Paperback - 2016, Available
ISBN 978-87-7694-167-3, £25

  • 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.


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.

Critical acclaim: 'Governing Cambodia’s forests takes an important first step in exploring pressing environment and forest conservation issues in the country. His findings suggest that deforestation in the country worsened when multilateral and bilateral aid started focusing on policy reforms to manage forests. (…) The author has spent substantial time compiling and presenting information on forest management ‘malpractices’ (…). It would be hard to find so much information located in one single publication elsewhere. (…) Cock’s book is important because it introduces foreign aid into the picture making the reader think about the predatory actions of the state, and how they can override the good intentions of international agencies.' Lee Poh Onn, JSEAE

Press news

  • Aug. 9 2019
    Carol Ann Boshier's book 'Mapping Cultural Nationalism: The Scholars of the Burma Research Society,1910-1935' has been shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2019. Congratulations!

Latest catalogue

See our latest catalogue of new books or click here to get information about the catalogue and how to get notification when a book is published.