Theorizing access: Forest profits along Senegal's charcoal commodity chain

Jesse C. Ribot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The questions at the centre of this article are: who profits from commercial forestry, and how? Through access mapping with commodity chain analysis, this study examines the distribution of benefits from Senegal's charcoal trade and the multiple market mechanisms underpinning that distribution. Benefits from charcoal are derived from direct control over forest access, as well as through access to markets, labour opportunities, capital, and state agents and officials. Access to these arenas is based on a number of inter-related mechanisms including legal property, social identity, social relations, coercion and information control. A commodity chain is the series of relations through which an item passes, from extraction through conversion, exchange, transport, distribution and final use. Access mapping involves evaluating the distribution of benefits along the chain, and tracing out the mechanisms by which access to benefits is maintained. It sheds light on the limited role of property, the embedded nature of markets, and the role of extra-legal structures and mechanisms in srjaping equity and efficiency in resource use. It does so in a socially situated, multi-local manner, spanning the geographic spread of production and exchange. It also illuminates the practical issues surrounding establishment of community participation in benefits from and control over natural resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-341
Number of pages35
JournalDevelopment and Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development


Dive into the research topics of 'Theorizing access: Forest profits along Senegal's charcoal commodity chain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this