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Management Alternatives for the Commonlands of Iberian Peninsula: A Multi-Criteria Stakeholders Perspective

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Lopes, J. R.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1376
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Social Organization
Region: Europe
Subject(s): decision making
land tenure and use
local participatory management
Abstract: "Communal lands occupy approximately 1 million ha in NW Iberian Peninsula (400000 in north Portugal and 600000 in Galicia), with high average areas (circa 500 ha in Portugal and 200 ha in Galicia), and are owned by approximately 2900 communities in Galicia and 1000 in north Portugal. During centuries, baldios (Portugal) and Montes Veciñais en Man Común (MVMC, Galicia) played an essential role in the rural economy of their owner communities. This role was lost during the twentieth century due to the massive forestation and the decline of agriculture prominence. The restoration of democratic regimes in both countries returned the baldios and MVMC to their owner communities, now declining, aging, disrupted and disorganized. The multifunctional character of the use of commonlands and the involvement of multiple users and stakeholders, results in complex and uncertain management practices. Thus, their evaluation must be carried out with a methodology capable of assessing contradictory objectives and difficult to quantify and compare. The paper describes the use of a multiple criteria decision aid technique as decision tool for assessing criteria and indicators designed to evaluate management alternatives for the communal lands. The methods are highly transparent, easy to understand, and offer a convenient environment for participatory evaluation processes. This exercise aimed to build an approach to the knowledge of the overall factors evolved in the situation. The results show that current management modalities are not satisfactory in the stakeholders point of view. The preferred management alternative by most of the stakeholder groups was a theoretical (currently non-existent) management model where the communities and the Administration are co-managers in a parity relationship, and have professional managers. The results also highlight the fact that there is no valuable decision that doesn't take into account the incorporation of stakeholders desires, knowledge and preferences."

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