In the Media
Forest communities tied up in state red tape
August 09, 2012
CIFOR Forests Blog
Despite a multitude of land tenure reforms over the past 20 years opening legal channels for communities to gain rights to their forests, the fair sharing of forest management responsibilities between local people and governments is still a major struggle, says a new CIFOR study.
“Our study illustrates how the transfer of rights has typically been incomplete so reforms that should have facilitated legal participation of communities in the forest sector are being undercut by burdensome regulations and start-up costs that actually create barriers to community participation,” said Peter Cronkleton, scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research and co-author of the study in Conservation and Society.
“If community groups are trying to use forest resources sustainably, governments should support their efforts rather than create obstacles or regulatory burdens.” The communities studied in Bolivia, the Philippines, India and Guatemala are in various types of co-management systems — where responsibilities and rewards gained from the management of forest resources are shared by the state and other stakeholders, and, in theory, the technical expertise of governmental agencies and the indigenous knowledge of local people are combined to improve management and strengthen forest governance.
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Keywords: Asia, Bolivia, co-management, Communities, community forestry, Forest, Guatemala, India, land rights, land tenure, Latin America, Philippines, property rights, tenure