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The Invisible Map: Community Tenure Rights

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Barry, Deborah; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth
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/10535/1788
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Social Organization
Subject(s): agrarian reform
land tenure and use
indigenous institutions
community participation
common pool resources
Abstract: "Land tenure reforms in the worlds southern forests is transferring a broad set or bundle of rights to indigenous peoples, local communities and groups to access forestlands and resources, providing initial opportunity for improving the livelihoods of poor forest-dependent communities. The definition of these rights, the marking of how and where they are held, who grants them, and who holds them are not straightforward under the classic tenure system models. The range of land use rights from individual to common property use is obscured. Internal customary practice is also dynamic, changing during different seasons, with new leadership, and often interacting with new rules imposed by external regulations or market opportunities once tenure is granted. The expansion in the tenure reform in coupled with the development of the visual mapping technology has posed significant demands on local communities to clarify the nature of their existing and desired tenure rights. It highlights a growing need to need to represent these rights in order to both manage and defend them. Community mapping of land use has grown, but existing tools for gathering, organizing and presenting the rights related to land and resource use are scarce and insensitive to the complexity of practice. This paper presents a framework in which to consider how bundles of rights are distributed between the state, the collective, smaller groups and individuals within communal tenure systems. It then discusses how the framework has been turned into a tool for multi-purpose participatory research at the intra and inter community levels. It makes the case that the tool can help communities themselves give visibility to internal tenure systems within the perimeters of their forestlands. Finally, the paper presents cases that demonstrate how the shifting boundaries among the categories of rights holders are influencing the security of tenure to common property resources."

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