The politics of environmental policy with a Himalayan example

Piers Blaikie, Joshua Muldavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


How we arrive at knowledge-and how we draw on knowledge to make policy-have been the subject of vigorous debate and analysis. Simple models of expertise and action are gradually yielding to a more complex vision of how truth speaks to power and power talks back. The Himalayan region-where scientists, statesmen, and citizens confront a unique set of environmental challenges and political legacies-provides a powerful case study. For more than a century, it was believed that over-use by local farmers and pastoralists threatened fragile mountain and river environments. Beginning in the colonial era and continuing into the present, governments have strictly curtailed traditional land-use practices. In the 1980s, scholars began to question the science on which those restrictive laws were based. But new science has not, in most cases led to new policy. This disconnect inspires questions about the nature of boh science and policy, thier influence on each other, and whether each could benefit from greater openness to the insights of people who fall outside the narrow roles of expert and politician.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalAsia Pacific Issues
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • Environmental policy
  • land use
  • pastoralism
  • politics

Cite this