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The Dismantling of Forest Commons in Spain

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Guadilla-Sáez, Sara; Pardo-de-Santayana, Manuel; Reyes-García, Victoria
Conference: Practicing the Commons: Self-Governance, Cooperation and Institutional Change
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Conf. Date: 10-14 July
Date: 2017
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10373
Sector: Forestry
Subject(s): forests
Abstract: "In Spain there is a large tradition of obtaining natural resources from forest commons, which had been documented since the Germanic tribes invasion to the Iberian Peninsula, in the fifth century. These tribes introduced the concept of woodlands collective property in the northwest areas of the peninsula. Thorough the collective property regime, forest resources were used by local communities, a management regime that –according to some authors– resulted in a supportive and sustainable use of forest. Some centuries later, during the Christian Reconquest and due to the land concession strategy followed by medieval kings to promote the settlement of Christian population that displaced Muslims from the newly gained territories, the communal regime was generalized to other parts of the peninsula. The land privileges granted to the Christian populations consisted in common lands –including woodlands– that the new settlers, organized in village councils or concejos, could communally manage and exploit. At that time, forest commons became the most habitual type of tenure of Spanish woodlands, a land tenure type that persisted until the nineteenth century."

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