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Tenure alone is not sufficient: monitoring is essential

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  • Elinor Ostrom
  • Harini Nagendra

Abstract

Many scholars call for the establishment of one kind of formal tenure—government ownership, privatization, or community control—as the way to solve problems associated with high levels of deforestation. This will not work without extensive and consistent monitoring of forest use. In this article, we draw on analyses of time-series remote images, on-the-ground social-ecological surveys of local stakeholders and their forests, and experimental laboratory studies to show that “protected” forests may not be protected in practice when tenure alone is deemed to be the “solution.” When users themselves consider the rules in place to be legitimate, they are frequently willing to engage themselves in monitoring and sanctioning of uses considered illegal, even when related to government-owned property. When users are genuinely engaged in decisions about rules affecting their use, the likelihood of users to follow the rules and monitor others is much greater than when an external authority simply imposes rules. Simple formulas focusing on formal ownership, particularly ones based solely on public ownership of forested lands, will not solve the problems of resource overuse. Copyright Springer Japan 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Elinor Ostrom & Harini Nagendra, 2007. "Tenure alone is not sufficient: monitoring is essential," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 8(3), pages 175-199, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:envpol:v:8:y:2007:i:3:p:175-199
    DOI: 10.1007/BF03353956
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Y. Hossein Farzin, 2010. "Sustainability, Optimality, and Development Policy," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 262-281, May.
    2. Gong, Yazhen & Bull, Gary & Baylis, Kathy, 2010. "Participation in the world's first clean development mechanism forest project: The role of property rights, social capital and contractual rules," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1292-1302, April.

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