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A comparative analysis of the effects of institutional property rights on forest livelihoods and forest conditions: Evidence from Ghana and Vietnam


  • Lambini, Cosmas Kombat
  • Nguyen, Trung Thanh


Effective institutional property rights are increasingly becoming an important part in the allocation of scarce forest resources and to combat the “tragedy of the commons” thesis. Our paper outlines conceptual, analytical and theoretical aspects of forest institutional property rights and an empirical synthesis of main findings from institutional property rights effectiveness in a cross-country comparative context. The paper employs property rights based framework coupled with some New Institutional Economics (NIE) debates as a diagnostic framework for understanding forest property rights. The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (SLF) provides empirically insights into how “forest institutional property rights” impact on forest communities' livelihoods and management. Our analysis provides support for the argument that forest institutional property rights play important role in the livelihoods of forest dependent communities and in forest management, but that can be context specific as showcased in our findings. Finally, the paper makes some recommendations in institutional analysis of forest property rights, such as strong and clearly defined property rights, integration of formal and informal rights and suggests strong linkage between institutional property rights and sustainable livelihoods as a “panacea” for sustainable forest livelihoods and management in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Lambini, Cosmas Kombat & Nguyen, Trung Thanh, 2014. "A comparative analysis of the effects of institutional property rights on forest livelihoods and forest conditions: Evidence from Ghana and Vietnam," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 178-190.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:178-190
    DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2013.09.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Agrawal, Arun & Gibson, Clark C., 1999. "Enchantment and Disenchantment: The Role of Community in Natural Resource Conservation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 629-649, April.
    2. Trung Thanh Nguyen, 2012. "Land Reform and Farm Production in the Northern Uplands of Vietnam," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 43-61, March.
    3. Edella Schlager & Elinor Ostrom, 1992. "Property-Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 68(3), pages 249-262.
    4. Nguyen, Tan Quang, 2006. "Forest devolution in Vietnam: Differentiation in benefits from forest among local households," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 409-420, June.
    5. Nguyen, Trung Thanh & Bauer, Siegfried & Uibrig, Holm, 2010. "Land privatization and afforestation incentive of rural farms in the Northern Uplands of Vietnam," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(7), pages 518-526, September.
    6. Philippe Delacote, 2012. "Forests and Development: Local, National, and Global Issues," Post-Print hal-01072288, HAL.
    7. Teye, Joseph Kofi, 2013. "Analysing forest resource governance in Africa: Proposition for an integrated policy network model," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 63-70.
    8. Konrad Hagedorn, 2008. "Particular requirements for institutional analysis in nature-related sectors," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 35(3), pages 357-384, September.
    9. Radoslav S. Dimitrov, 2005. "Hostage to Norms: States, Institutions and Global Forest Politics," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 5(4), pages 1-24, November.
    10. Coleman, Eric A. & Fleischman, Forrest D., 2012. "Comparing Forest Decentralization and Local Institutional Change in Bolivia, Kenya, Mexico, and Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 836-849.
    11. Peter Hough, 2003. "Poisons in the System: The Global Regulation of Hazardous Pesticides," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 3(2), pages 11-24, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shitima, Christina Mwivei, 2015. "Institutional context, household access to resources and sustainability of River Basin Resources in Tanzania: towards an analytical framework," IOB Working Papers 2015.07, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    2. Jagger, Pamela, 2014. "Confusion vs. clarity: Property rights and forest use in Uganda," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 32-41.
    3. Trung Thanh Nguyen & Siegfried Bauer & Ulrike Grote, 2016. "Does Land Tenure Security Promote Manure Use by Farm Households in Vietnam?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-19, February.
    4. Nguyen, Trung Thanh & Do, Truong Lam & Bühler, Dorothee & Hartje, Rebecca & Grote, Ulrike, 2015. "Rural livelihoods and environmental resource dependence in Cambodia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 282-295.
    5. repec:gam:jlands:v:5:y:2016:i:2:p:8:d:66698 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:gam:jscscx:v:6:y:2017:i:3:p:76-:d:104562 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:foreco:v:29:y:2017:i:pa:p:14-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gbedomon, Rodrigue Castro & Floquet, Anne & Mongbo, Roch & Salako, Valère Kolawolé & Fandohan, Adandé Belarmain & Assogbadjo, Achille Ephrem & Glèlè Kakaї, Romain, 2016. "Socio-economic and ecological outcomes of community based forest management: A case study from Tobé-Kpobidon forest in Benin, Western Africa," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 46-55.
    9. Yeboah-Assiamah, Emmanuel & Muller, Kobus & Domfeh, Kwame Ameyaw, 2017. "Institutional assessment in natural resource governance: A conceptual overview," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 1-12.
    10. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:178:d:64024 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Nguyen, Trung Thanh & Nghiem, Nhung, 2016. "Optimal forest rotation for carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation by farm income levels," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 185-194.
    12. Peter Narh & Cosmas Kombat Lambini & Matthew Sabbi & Van Dien Pham & Trung Thanh Nguyen, 2016. "Land Sector Reforms in Ghana, Kenya and Vietnam: A Comparative Analysis of Their Effectiveness," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 1-17, March.


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