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The New Forest Commons, Hampshire: Horse-riders, Mountain-bike Riders, Free-riders

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Edwards, Victoria M.
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: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/624
Sector: Forestry
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
institutional design
free riding
Abstract: "The New Forest Commons in England are neither new nor entirely forested. Established in 1079 by William the Conqueror, the New Forest Commons cover around 38,000 hectares of unenclosed ancient woodlands, timber enclosures, open grasslands, heather moorland, valley mires and settlements. The land is owned by the Crown but has been subject to rights of common users for over a thousand years. The predominant right is that of grazing ponies, cattle and donkeys; although rights for the collection of timber and turf still exist. The New Forest has a complex institutional arrangement, with management input from national and local statutory bodies. The Verderers Court', with representatives from government agencies and elected representatives of some 500 'commoners' of the New Forest have increased: horse-riding, mountain-biking, picniking, walking, wildlife watching and conservation. Such activities, which are potentially imcompatable with the grazing use of the commons, pose one of the greatest threats to the commons' future. Whilst few of the participant groups have any property right to the commons, they all seek increased involvement in the management of the New Forest. This paper questions whether the existing institutional arrangements for managing the New Forest commons are sufficient to cope with such pressures."

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