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Property entitlements and land reform in upland Thai catchments


  • Roger Attwater

    () (University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury, Centre for Research in Healthy Futures)


Issues involved in processes of land reform in degraded upland catchment areas in Thailand include property entitlements over local resource complexes, and the roles of local communities, State agencies and commercial stakeholders. An inquiry into collaborative action between stakeholders in an upland Thai catchment has been used as an example of the process of defining property entitlements to the bundles of opportunities for management. A processual view of property is used, in which interests are expressed as claims and ultimately translated into entitlements which specify rights to streams of benefits, and associated duties, in relation to particular resource complexes. This is developed in terms of the bundles of opportunities for collective and collaborative management in upland catchments, particularly in relation to common-pool resources. Soft systems methodology was used as a guide for a process aimed at identifying mutually beneficial improvements in management between village, agency and commercial stakeholders. The collaborative actions which have developed are all cases whereby particular bundles of property entitlements and related duties have been defined through a process of the expression of claims and identification of mutually beneficial arrangements. These have included: local collective management of a water supply; partnerships relating to elements of conservation and production within the local agroecosystems; and socially legitimate patronage to support formal protocols of land reform. This process is discussed in terms of the expression of interests and translation into entitlements through partnerships supported by multiple lines of social and bureaucratic legitimation.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Attwater, 1997. "Property entitlements and land reform in upland Thai catchments," Working Papers in Ecological Economics 9704, Australian National University, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Ecological Economics Program.
  • Handle: RePEc:anu:wpieep:9704

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    1. William Blomquist & Elinor Ostrom, 1985. "Institutional Capacity And The Resolution Of A Commons Dilemma," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 5(2), pages 383-394, November.
    2. White, Thomas A., 1992. "Landholder Cooperation For Sustainable Upland Watershed Management: A Theoretical Review Of The Problems And Prospects," Working Papers 11887, Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Training Project.
    3. Rigg, Jonathan, 1991. "Grass-roots development in rural Thailand: A lost cause?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 199-211.
    4. White, T Anderson & Runge, C Ford, 1994. "Common Property and Collective Action: Lessons from Cooperative Watershed Management in Haiti," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 1-41, October.
    5. Feder, Gershon & Onchan, Tongroj & Chalamwong, Yongyuth, 1988. "Land Policies and Farm Performance in Thailand's Forest Reserve Areas," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 483-501, April.
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