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Why is There No Tragedy in These Commons? An Analysis of Forest User Groups and Forest Policy in Bhutan

Author

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  • Bill Buffum

    () (Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881, USA)

Abstract

Governments around the world are increasingly devolving authority for forest management to the local level in an attempt to strengthen the management of national forests. Community forestry programs are recognized as providing a range of economic and social benefits and having a positive impact on increasing forest cover. However, concerns have been raised about the capability of user groups to manage community forests in a sustainable and equitable manner. This study analyzed the initial experience with community forestry in Bhutan and assessed the degree to which national policies have enhanced the likelihood of successful management by forestry user groups. The study found that the studied communities possess many attributes of successful forest user groups due to historical and socio-cultural reasons. National policies, including the unusual provision of handing over well-stocked forests to user groups, have further enhanced the likelihood of sustainable management by forest user groups. The initial experience of forest management by user groups in Bhutan is promising, and merits further study now that that a much larger number of community forests (CFs) have experience with harvesting.

Suggested Citation

  • Bill Buffum, 2012. "Why is There No Tragedy in These Commons? An Analysis of Forest User Groups and Forest Policy in Bhutan," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(7), pages 1-18, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:7:p:1448-1465:d:18708
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Adhikari, Bhim & Di Falco, Salvatore & Lovett, Jon C., 2004. "Household characteristics and forest dependency: evidence from common property forest management in Nepal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 245-257, February.
    2. Sakurai, Takeshi & Rayamajhi, Santosh & Pokharel, Ridish K. & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2004. "Efficiency of timber production in community and private forestry in Nepal," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 539-561, August.
    3. Adhikari, Bhim, 2005. "Poverty, property rights and collective action: understanding the distributive aspects of common property resource management," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 7-31, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Moktan, Mani Ram & Norbu, Lungten & Choden, Kunzang, 2016. "Can community forestry contribute to household income and sustainable forestry practices in rural area? A case study from Tshapey and Zariphensum in Bhutan," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 149-157.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bhutan; community forestry; forest policy; forest user groups;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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