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Incentives and Outcomes of Rangeland Enclosures: A Comparative Institutional Analysis among Three (Agro-) Pastoral Districts in Eastern Ethiopia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Kenee, Fekadu Beyene
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/10535/1938
Sector: Grazing
Region: Africa
Subject(s): rangelands
institutional analysis
common pool resources
Abstract: "A growing body of literature underlines the gradual dismantling of common property grazing land, as range enclosure tends to expand. This paper aims to examine the driving forces (external or internal) for enclosure and its consequences. Evaluating them helps predict whether enclosure practice aids in attaining income security and ensuring household welfare by supporting livestock development. Moreover, it explores the role of customary authorities in defining and enforcing rights to private use of land and attempts to scrutinize whether informal rules emerge to respond to these needs and even become an incentive to establish private enclosures. A broader aim is to compare the motivations and consequences with respect to land enclosure and to delineate the processes and actors involved. Based on survey of 160 households and focus group discussion with customary leaders and state agents, results indicate that there are endogenous and exogenous driving forces for range enclosure and change in land use with the advent effect of incompatible demands (conflict of interest) on resource and unstable property rights. Although unreliable, private benefits from enclosure may still continue to be tempting for individual households to practice it. But its expansion in connection with short-term gains does not generally increase the welfare of (agro-) pastoral community in the longer- term as it is causing extensive rangeland degradation, bringing irreversible damage to the ecology. In general, variation is observed across the cases studied in terms of rule enforcement, benefits from enclosure and the underlying incentives. Though signs of state support for enclosure are evident via assessing the role of lower level state administrators in allocation of land for private grazing, policy support for private land use cannot fully explain the gradual shift in property rights to the rangeland. The role of socio-economic and ecological changes is much more important and has widespread influence. The overall evidence reiterates the concern of others who underline the 'less clear-cut' role of government policies in speeding up rangeland enclosure. Finally, it makes explicit on the influence of economic changes on norms favoring private use of the range."

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