Overlapping zones of exclusion: Carbon markets, corporate hydropower enclaves and timber extraction in Cambodia

Overlapping zones of exclusion: Carbon markets, corporate hydropower enclaves and timber extraction in Cambodia

This contribution looks at the interplay of different logics of governing the environment, resources and people in Cambodia that materialise in overlapping zones of exclusion, thereby co-producing new relations of resource control in a complex frontier constellation: a frontier for water, forest and carbon commodities and also for state control. Focusing on three Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) hydropower dams, the paper analyses a partly unintentional, but significantly consequential coalescence of distinct spaces of governing located in the Cardamom Mountains: a forest conservation zone, the CDM technological zone, an enclaved corporate hydropower zone and a semi-official timber logging zone. While the CDM element has exposed the projects internationally, it has obscured several problematic aspects and dynamics of resource politics connected to the dams that are revealed in this paper. These include the vulnerabilisation of local fisher communities, incarceral labour practices on the dams’ construction sites and accelerated logging in the conservation zone. The paper also shows how the interaction of the studied zones takes place through their distinct mechanisms of exclusion with the effects of more centralised resource control and the bracketing of the associated dispossessions.

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