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Forest property rights in the frame of public policies and societal change


  • Irimie, Doru Leonard
  • Essmann, Hans Friedrich


Property rights over natural resources became a distinct area of inquiry in environmental economics and policy in the last decades, but their role has not yet been investigated thoroughly. Transition countries represent an excellent material of analysis of various policies and institutional developments concerning the regime of use and management of natural resources. The processes of societal transformation had deep impacts on the forestry sector, entailing land reforms and subsequent changes to its institutional and organisational framework. This paper presents an analysis of the reciprocal relationship between the evolving forest property rights and the conduct of policy and economic actors, in connection with their outcomes. The theoretical framework consists of institutional economics, whose core concept is that patterns of interaction between institutions and actors produce physical outcomes, assessable by criteria such as equity and efficiency. The study concentrated on three distinct periods and the applicable property regimes. Within this framework, the impacts of the characteristics of property regimes and the general framework of socio-economic conditions on the exercise of property rights were analysed. The analysis of the conduct of forest owners in relation to the institutional design was completed by the analysis of the other actors influential for land reforms. Romanian forestry sector, in evolution from the period shortly before World War II to present, represents the case of the study. Research data were collected by interviewing/questioning, participant observation and literature review. They were analysed through an integrated method of content analysis and a matrix analysis. An important conclusion is that not only the regime of forest property is determinant for the outcomes of resource use and management, but also the general settings in which they are embedded. Another essential point is that land reforms driven by either efficiency or equity rationales are not mere diversions of the benefit stream, but complex processes with serious implications for the status of the resource at stake.

Suggested Citation

  • Irimie, Doru Leonard & Essmann, Hans Friedrich, 2009. "Forest property rights in the frame of public policies and societal change," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 95-101, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:11:y:2009:i:2:p:95-101

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kissling-Naf, Ingrid & Bisang, Kurt, 2001. "Rethinking recent changes of forest regimes in Europe through property-rights theory and policy analysis," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3-4), pages 99-111, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Speelman, Stijn & Veettil, Prakashan Chellattan, 2013. "Heterogeneous preferences for water rights reforms among smallholder irrigators in South Africa," Bio-based and Applied Economics Journal, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA), vol. 2(2), pages 1-19, August.
    2. Roy, Anjan Kumer Dev & Alam, Khorshed & Gow, Jeff, 2012. "A review of the role of property rights and forest policies in the management of the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in Bangladesh," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 46-53.
    3. Sorin Geacu & Monica DumitraƟcu & Ines Grigorescu, 2018. "On the Biogeographical Significance of Protected Forest Areas in Southern Romania," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(7), pages 1-18, July.
    4. Scriban, Ramona Elena & Nichiforel, Liviu & Bouriaud, Laura Gianina & Barnoaiea, Ionut & Cosofret, Vasile Cosmin & Barbu, Catalina Oana, 2019. "Governance of the forest restitution process in Romania: An application of the DPSIR model," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 59-67.


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