Can Long Lasting Forest Institution Survive Market Economy? The Case of Historical Common Property Forest Regime in Slovakia

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2011

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Abstract

"Central Europe is rich in forests and characterized not only by the existence of a long forestry tradition, but also by a dynamic evolution of the forest ownership which originated in the 17th century. Institutional changes, in particular the establishment of the communist regime in 1948 followed by large nationalization of property, has had a significant impact on forest management practice in particular a shift to state large scale and centralized forest management. Transformation and denationalization after the fall of communism, in the 90s' returned forests to original owners but the absence of proper institutions prevented reestablishment of effective regimes. Our paper concentrates on the analysis of the historical forest common property regime in central Europeurbar that transformed into the present forest governance structure after 40 years of interruption during socialism. Applying a multiple methods approach including common pool resource experiments and field research to study collective actions on social dilemmas we argue that urbars can be seen to be long lasting institutions for sustainable forest management under the market and democratic regime. Flexibility and local experience creates conditions for renewal and increases ability for adaptation to external factors."

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forests, common pool resources, evolution, adaptation, transitional economics

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