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Conflicts and Value Trade-Offs in the Management of Common Property: Insights from Land Use Studies in the Australian Sugar Industry

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Mallawaarachchi, Thilak
Conference: Tradition and Globalisation: Critical Issues for the Accommodation of CPRs in the Pacific Region, the Inaugural Pacific Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Conf. Date: September 2-4, 2001
Date: 2001
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/678
Sector: Agriculture
Social Organization
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
land tenure and use
Abstract: "Traditionally, benefits of common property arrangements arose from complementarity in resource use, which permitted multiple uses for several users. Today, common property resources (CPRs) represent quasi-public goods, featuring increasing rivalry in consumption. As the domain of uses widens and number of users rises, potentially competitive activity increases, leading to greater conflicts. Non-excludability of benefits and rivalry in consumption of the common good promotes exploitation and escalates the risk of overcrowding in the absence of mutually binding agreements amongst users. This paper argues that the primary source of difficulty in achieving such binding agreements is the dilemma presented by the dichotomy in individual interest and common values. Differences in individual circumstances typified by endowments, beliefs and cultural make-up define individuals capacity to respond to changing social norms and livelihood opportunities; rapid social change, instigated by globalisation and information technology, influences individual aspirations and value perceptions. Drawing on land-use studies in the Australian Sugar Industry, the paper illustrates how such conflicting and diverse values can be incorporated in quantitative analyses for determining socially acceptable trade-offs between alternative resource allocation strategies for production and conservation. In addressing the needs for preserving environmental quality as a common property and agricultural pursuits for private interest, the paper concludes that in a larger system, multiple use benefits may be gained through dominant use management. Coupled with discriminatory access restrictions and incentive structures, it provides an efficient approach to manage CPRs in the best interest of the community. The role of institutional innovations to foster community cooperation for governing common property and enhancing individual responsibility in private property management is highlighted."

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