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Land Tenure, Forest and Political Reforms: A Look at Their Implications for Common-Property Forests in Lowland Bolivia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Pacheco, Pablo
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/7273
Sector: Forestry
Region: South America
Subject(s): land tenure and use
forest management
common pool resources
livelihoods
Abstract: "Common-property forests adopt diverse forms and embrace a disparity of local actors (e.g., indigenous people, forest dependent smallholders). In lowland Bolivia, these actors have placed strong demands to the state for the recognition of their collective rights, which coincided with a top-down process of land and tenure reform within broader political trends of state restructuring. While claims for rights on access and management of common-property forests have been acknowledged by the legal and institutional frameworks, particularly after the approval of a new national constitution, the expected outcomes on enhancing people’s livelihoods and promoting forest conservation are difficult to achieve in practice since there is still a need to align the land and forest policy with the incentive systems shaping forest resources use in the commons. Uneven social structures and market powers tend to take the economic benefits away from local forest users, and disparate strengths of local systems of authority impede to achieve effective territorial governance. This paper assesses three cases under which local communities are struggling to benefit from their forest resources under differentiated tenure arrangements and market conditions. I argue that greater attention has to be placed on understanding the disparate outcomes for the management and governance of common-property forests resulting from changes in regulatory frameworks and market conditions if better outcomes want to be achieved for forest livelihoods and forests."

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