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Collaboration and Credible Commitments: Experiments with Collaborative Resource Management in Uganda

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Beck, Peter
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, IN
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4, 2000
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1051
Sector: Forestry
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
protected areas
forest management
participatory management
Abstract: "This paper will address the increasing interest of scholars and practitioners in exploring methods of collaboration in resource management, by examining the potential for collaborative incentives to engage or reengage rural community towards cooperation in conservation. A rich body of literature by CPR scholars has examined the characteristics under which some communities have successfully cooperated to protect forests and other global commons. The values held by community members often function as important components of successful institutions. However, contemporary constraints such as the central government appropriating formal rights through the creation of forest reserves and national parks as well as the widespread socio-economic changes impacting rural areas, have greatly limited the ability of even the historically successful local institutions to continue controlling resource use. In this paper, I examine agreements for collaborative forest management between the national park authority and local communities bordering two national parks in Uganda to determine the extent to which they serve as incentives for overcoming the costs of collaboration as well as reducing the likelihood of strategic behavior. I argue that collaborative arrangements can serve as an appropriate incentive to engender cooperation when the participants value the forest as a collective good and the extent to which their values are incorporated into the collaborative agreement. "Results show that the two collaborative agreements specify different rights and responsibilities for local communities in the two parishes. In Mutushet, residents had valued the forest for its collective, as well as, private benefits. Providing residents some authority over decisions of access and monitoring the forest has revived a sense of community control and pride towards conservation of the forest that had been lost after several generations of government control. In Mpungu, despite extensive input into the design of the rules, the failure to incorporate the primarily private benefits towards the forest exhibited by community members has dampened the impacts of collaboration. Therefore, despite organizing local collaboration along existing self-help institutions, the new rights and responsibilities have not engendered these institutions to action in support of forest conservation. "These divergent outcomes present important lessons for the potential of collaboration in conservation. By highlighting the importance of identifying the nature of the forest goods that are valued and the effectiveness of the collaborative process at incorporating these values into the design of participatory conservation institutions, this study has potentially important implications for scholars examining the motivations for human behavior and practitioners interested in improving community based resource management."

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