Does decentralization work? Forest conservation in the Himalayas
This paper studies the effect of decentralization of management and control on forest conservation in the central Himalayas. The density of forest cover (measured with satellite images and field surveys) in forests managed by village councils is compared with that in state-managed forests and in unmanaged village commons. Geographic proximity and historical and ecological information are used to identify the effects of the three types of management regimes. Village council management does no worse, and possibly better, at conservation than state management and costs an order of magnitude less per unit area. Relative to unmanaged commons, village council management raises crown cover in broadleaved forests (the type of forest that may provide the most benefits to villagers under the rules) but not in pine forests.
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- Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2003. "Economic Growth and the Rise of Forests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 601-637.
- Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
- Edmonds, Eric V., 2002. "Government-initiated community resource management and local resource extraction from Nepal's forests," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 89-115, June.
- Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E, 1996. "The Evolution of Social Norms in Common Property Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 766-788, September.
- Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2000. "Halting Degradation of Natural Resources: Is There a Role for Rural Communities?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290612, December.
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