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What We can Learn from History: The Present Role of Commons in Managing the Environment

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Johann, Elizabeth
Conference: Building the European Commons: From Open Fields to Open Source, European Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP)
Location: Brescia, Italy
Conf. Date: March 23-25
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1039
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
traditional institutions
participatory management
Abstract: "Austrian's commons - which are still accepted generally by the society at present day - are rooted in the traditional forms of settlement and in the rescue of common utilisation rights on outside property. Its members have been participating in the administration and management of the local resources since the 13th century. Thereby they accepted responsibility for the management of the nearby environment in particular with regard to the woodland, the waters and the whole infrastructure of the village. Traditional commons are characterized by certain features which envisage their outstanding importance also in the future. The structure of commons is still evident and can be illustrated by the following strong points: social fairness, considerable reduction of the misuse of power by adequate internal rules, economic principles, which importance are increasingly recognized namely concerning the priority of subsistence compared to profitability, and the priority of local influencing factors compared to global ones. The model is based on the participatory intercourse with nature and makes harmful impacts more difficult. In participating in the administration and management of the close surroundings in particular the wooded area commons take responsibility for the shaping of the landscape and therefore are interested in the sustainable protection of the given natural resources."

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