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Beyond Ostrom: Randomized Experiment of the Impact of Individualized Tree Rights on Forest Management in Ethiopia

Ryo Takahashi () and Keijiro Otsuka ()

No 2022, Working Papers from Waseda University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics

Abstract: Although community forest management has become a principal approach for the management of forest resources in developing countries, empirical evidence on its effectiveness is mixed. We argue in this study that while community management is effective in protection or regulated use of forest resources as argued by Ostrom, it may fail to provide proper incentives to take care of such resources because of collective sharing of benefits of forest management. This study proposes a mixed private and community management system as a desirable arrangement for timber forest management in developing countries, which is characterized by communal protection of community-owned forest area and individual management of individually owned trees. We conducted a randomized experiment on community forests in Ethiopia in which individualized tree rights have been granted to member of randomly selected communities with the permission of the local authority. We found that the mixed management system significantly stimulated intensive forest management activities, including pruning, guarding, and watering. Furthermore, individual members of the mixed management system extracted more timber trees and forest products, which are byproducts of tree management, such as thinned trees and pruned branches. As may be expected, the extracted volumes of nontimber forest products unrelated to tree management (i.e., fodder and honey) did not change by the intervention.

Keywords: property regimes; individual rights; commons; community forest management; RCT (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 P48 Q23 Q24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 45 pages
Date: 2021-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-dev, nep-env and nep-exp
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