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Collective action for forest conservation: Does heterogeneity matter?


  • E. Somanathan

    () (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

  • R. Prabhakar

    () (Strand Genomics)

  • B.S. Mehta

    () (Foundation for Ecological Security)


Community management of forests by Van Panchayats (forest councils) to meet local needs has a long history in the Indian Central Himalayas. This essay examines the effects of village-level heterogeneity in caste and land ownership, and of female membership in the Panchayats on collective action for forest conservation. There is no evidence that caste heterogeneity or female membership of the Panchayat have any effect. There is some evidence that greater equality in land ownership may enhance collective action and forest conservation in pine forests but not broadleaved forests. This is puzzling since villagers' interest in conservation is greater in broadleaved than in pine forests.

Suggested Citation

  • E. Somanathan & R. Prabhakar & B.S. Mehta, 2002. "Collective action for forest conservation: Does heterogeneity matter?," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 02-01, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:isipdp:02-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kanupriya Gupta, "undated". "Consumer Responses to Incentive to Reduce Plastic Bag Use: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Urban India," Working papers 65, The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics.
    2. Bhim Adhikari & Jon Lovett, 2006. "Institutions and collective action: Does heterogeneity matter in community-based resource management?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(3), pages 426-445.
    3. Rucha Ghate & Suresh Ghate & Elinor Ostrom, "undated". "Indigenous Communities, Cooperation, and Communication: Taking Experiments to the Field," Working papers 64, The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics.
    4. Ridhima Gupta, "undated". "Causes of Emissions from Agricultural Residue Burning in North-west India: Evaluation of a Technology Policy Response," Working papers 66, The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics.
    5. Priya Shyamsundar & Rucha Ghate, "undated". "Rights, Responsibilities and Resources: Examining Community Forestry in South Asia," Working papers 59, The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics.
    6. Bhim Adhikari, 2007. "Property Rights and Natural Resources: Socio-Economic Heterogeneity and Distributional Implications of Common Property Resource Management," Working Papers id:840, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation


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