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Evaluating a Common Property Institution: Design Principles and Forest Management in a Honduran Community

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Tucker, Catherine
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1337
Sector: Forestry
Region: Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): IASC
forest management
common pool resources
property rights
institutional design
design principles
Abstract: "The municipio (similar to 'county') of La Campa, Honduras, has maintained common property forests since the colonial period. During the past half century, the area has been experiencing population growth, market integration, and disruptions related to policy reforms and national economic instability. Some researchers have identified these processes as potentially detrimental to common property (CP) institutions. Other scholars have argued that increasing population density and (or) resource scarcity may provide a catalyst for people to create or strengthen CP institutions. The situation in La Campa offers some support for both of these arguments. On the one hand, population growth and increasing demands for land and forest resources appear to be driving a transformation of communal forests into de facto private forests and agricultural fields. On the other hand, the people have been developing new regulations to limit exploitation and privatization of their forests. Given these contrasting trends, this paper explores the viability of La Campa's CP forest institutions and explores whether the current transformations are likely to result in the institutions' disappearance or reinforcement. Successful common property institutions appear to share certain features; reference to these provides a set of criteria for evaluating CP institutions, such as La Campa's. The evaluation focuses on Ostrom's design principles for successful CP institutions, as they are expressed in La Campa."

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