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Do Property Rights Really Influence Forest Conservation and Management in Western Ghats of India?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Nanjundaiah, C.
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/10535/1981
Sector: Forestry
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): property rights
sacred forests
forest management
Abstract: "The failure of market in conservation and management of forest resources is well established by many researchers. Forest resources are regarded as CPRs because of their public good nature and their management has become highly intricate and onerous task due to the free riding problem or non-excludability of potential users of an identifiable group of local community from obtaining benefits from the use of forest. Therefore, Hardin observed that unless there is coercion or some other special device to make individuals act in their common interest rational and self-interested individuals will not act to achieve their common or group interests. Individuals independently exercising their various ownership rights influence resource condition in a region. Therefore, existing institutional structures (property rights) significantly affect peoples behavior towards resources use pattern, ownership over resources, and their transferability, exclusion, encroachment, and deforestation and they also impact on the success of environmental protection programmes and halting deforestation. The present study, therefore, tries to address both theoretical and empirically how property rights exert a greater impact on the condition of forest resources in Western Ghats of India. In this background, the present study has been carried out in one of the rich biodiversity hotspots of the world, Western Ghats of India. The study uses analytical framework to examine the various factors such as underlying and proximate causes that affect the state of forests, environment and livelihood needs of local community in the study area. How these causes influence local communities behavior or attitude towards use and abuse of forest resources in the three different property right regimes viz., State Property (National Park), Community Property (Sacred Groves) and Private Property (Plantation Area) in the context of Kodagu district of Western Ghats of India."

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