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The role of tenure in the management of trees at the community level: theoretical and empirical analyses from Uganda and Malawi


  • Place, Frank
  • Otsuka, Keijiro


This paper examines the effects of tenure on tree management at a community level. First, several important conceptual issues arising from this particular meso-level focus are discussed. Second, a description of the key tenure and tree management issues in Uganda and Malawi is presented. In each case, data representing changes in land use and tree cover between the 1960-70s and 1990s are analyzed. In both countries, there has been significant conversion of land from woodlands to agriculture. Tree cover has been more or less maintained over time in Uganda but has decreased in Malawi. Lastly, the paper explores the relationships between tenure and tree management using econometric techniques. Tenure is found to be linked to land-use and tree-cover change in both countries, though it is not necessarily the most important factor (e.g., population pressure is the key driving force for land-use change). In Uganda, conversion of land was more rapid under the customary tenure system and tree cover on nonagricultural land better maintained under the mailo system. In Malawi there was more rapid land-use conversion and tree cover depletion where there were more changes to traditional tenure systems taking place.

Suggested Citation

  • Place, Frank & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2000. "The role of tenure in the management of trees at the community level: theoretical and empirical analyses from Uganda and Malawi," CAPRi working papers 9, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sandeep H. Patel & Thomas C. Pinckney & William K. Jaeger, 1995. "Smallholder Wood Production and Population Pressure in East Africa: Evidence of an Environmental Kuznets Curve?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 71(4), pages 516-530.
    2. Migot-Adholla, Shem, et al, 1991. "Indigenous Land Rights Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Constraint on Productivity?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 155-175, January.
    3. Ault, David E & Rutman, Gilbert L, 1979. "The Development of Individual Rights to Property in Tribal Africa," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 163-182, April.
    4. French, David, 1986. "Confronting an unsolvable problem: Deforestation in Malawi," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 531-540, April.
    5. Baland, J.M. & Gaspart, F. & Place, F. & Platteau, J.P., 1999. "Poverty, Tenure Security and Access to Land in Central Uganda: The Role of Market and Non-Market Processes," Papers 216, Notre-Dame de la Paix, Sciences Economiques et Sociales.
    6. Kahn, James R. & McDonald, Judith A., 1995. "Third-world debt and tropical deforestation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 107-123, February.
    7. Capistrano, Ana Doris & Kiker, Clyde F., 1995. "Macro-scale economic influences on tropical forest depletion," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 21-29, July.
    8. Knox, Anna & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Hazell, P. B. R., 1998. "Property rights, collective action and technologies for natural resource management: a conceptual framework," CAPRi working papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Southgate, Douglas & Sierra, Rodrigo & Brown, Lawrence, 1991. "The causes of tropical deforestation in Ecuador: A statistical analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(9), pages 1145-1151, September.
    10. Scherr, Sara J., 1995. "Economic factors in farmer adoption of agroforestry: Patterns observed in Western Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 787-804, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kabubo-Mariara, Jane, 2007. "Land conservation and tenure security in Kenya: Boserup's hypothesis revisited," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 25-35, October.
    2. Knox, Anna & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela, 2000. "Collective action, property rights, and devolution of natural resource management: exchange of knowledge and implications for policy," CAPRi working papers 11, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Kabubo-Mariara, Jane & Linderhof, Vincent & Kruseman, Gideon, 2010. "Does land tenure security matter for investment in soil and water conservation? Evidence from Kenya," Journal of Cooperatives, NCERA-210, vol. 4(2), June.

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