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