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From Agrarian to Forest Tenure Reforms in Latin America: Assessing Their Impacts for Local People and Forests

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Pacheco, Pablo; Barry, Deborah; Cronkleton, Peter; Larson, Anne; Monterroso, Iliana
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/10535/390
Sector: Forestry
Region: South America
Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): agrarian reform
community forestry
Abstract: "This paper assesses a new wave of land reform underway in Latin America, which we have labeled a 'forest reform.' This forest reform is aimed at harmonizing development and conservation concerns, while taking into account the demands of indigenous peoples, extractive communities and smallholders regarding secure land tenure rights and improved institutional, market and legal conditions for sustainable forest management. While the shift from agrarian to forest tenure reform is an important step for enhancing the livelihoods and cultures of forest-based people, these reforms fall short of achieving their expected goals due to shortcomings in national policy frameworks, combined with restrictive market, and other institutional conditions that tend to be biased against smallholders and community forestry. Recognition of existing --or the granting of new-- tenure rights to these actors, renewed efforts for adapting local institutions to evolving contexts and the development or strengthening of economic and social coalitions with other forest actors are all crucial factors for overcoming the almost insurmountable barriers for smallholders and communities to improving livelihoods and prospering from the sustainable management of their forests. Reconciling these efforts with conservation principles and implementing realistic policies based on a more nuanced understanding of the strengths and constraints faced by community level stakeholders, as well as of market conditions they interact with, constitute the principal tasks for the state to deepen forest reforms."

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