Decentralized forest policy has been moderately successful in delivering resource-use rights to local people. At the same time, it is possible that decentralization leads to recentralization because governments never give their authority over forest resources. Recentralization studies have paid little attention to the potential of local dynamics to lead to institutional arrangements that affect forest outcomes. This paper uses a case study of Community-based Forest Management (CBFM) in the Philippines to explore how local realities lead to the development of effective institutions for forest management. In this case study, local informal regulations of forest resource use were created through the process of settling local conflicts among competing CBFM interests, including members and non-members of people's organizations, and frontline foresters who are working at local level. Frontline foresters played a role as coordinator of institutional arrangements that regulate local forest exploitation within the CBFM implementation process. The behavior of frontline foresters affected by their own personalities and existing social relations among residents, can deter recentralization in some ways. More attention is needed on the role of frontline foresters and non-members of people's organization as influential negotiators in state-society relations concerning forests.
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