Between Commons and Anti-commons: A Study on the Structure and Structural Development of Small Scale Private Forest Property under the Conditions of Societal Transformation in the Free State of Saxony

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Date

2007

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Abstract

"The study aims at finding general conditions, criteria and restrictions for functional small scale private forest property under the conditions of transformation from a socialist to a democratic and market system. Criteria for the economic and social operability of property in a complex resource system are deducted from property and collective action theories. They are used to evaluate the structures of private forest property in the Free State of Saxony in eastern Germany. The three major problems shown by this structural analysis (lacking viability as private property, low degree of co-operation between owners and underutilization of the resource) are a result of extreme spatial and legal fragmentation. Spatial or legal bundling of property rights therefore is essential for overcoming them. "Cost and benefit of various ways of property bundling are then compared by means of an economic model of a parcellized area of private forests. The approaches deducted are evaluated by experts representing different groups of stakeholders and forest policy actors. Individual enlargement of small forest property appears as the main path of structural adjustment that meets experts' support, a second suitable path of development being the establishment of shared private property. Both paths need to be supplemented by stronger co-operation of forest owners and changes in public forest policies. The main recommendation of the thesis is transferring management responsibility to small forest owners, while government action should be limited to the provision of information and rules that are apt to strengthen self-responsibility and the capacity of small forest owners to act by themselves."

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forestry, public--private, property rights, community forestry, structural adjustment, collective action

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