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The Bygde-Commons in Norway

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Finseveen, Mathias; Naess, Asbjorn
Conference: Reinventing the Commons, the Fifth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bodoe, Norway
Conf. Date: May 24-28, 1995
Date: 1995
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/5425
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Europe
Subject(s): forests
common pool resources
IASC
Abstract: "The bygde-commons are owned by the farms which have the right to use them. The right of use includes access to raw materials to meet agricultural needs, grazing for those animals which can be fed on the property through the winter and the right to fish and to hunt small game. Approx. 14,500 farms have the right to use the commons. Many commons run businesses which include sawmilling, sale of building materials, sale of fishing and hunting licenses, leasing of land for holiday homes, and other tourist-based operations. The profits of the commons must first be used to secure and improve the commons to provide for the future requirements of the commoners, and then to develop secondary industries, allow discounts and subsidies for the commoners, and to carry out work for their mutual benefit, etc. The commoners' rights are, along with allodial rights, the oldest legal institution we know of. A bygde-common cannot be sold or mortgaged. A commoner's rights cannot be sold nor be in any other way separated from the estate to which it belongs. A new Act of Parliament concerning the bygde-commons was passed in 1992. The Act regulates the election of the board and the board's duties, accounting and auditing procedure, election procedure, and the AGM agenda. It requires a forestry plan and a qualified forestry manager, as well as rules governing use, etc. The bygde-commons are regarded as an effective management and ownership model which, by a multiplier effect, brings disproportionately great benefits to their local communities compared to the resource value of the commons themselves."

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