01-06: Recognition of Local Rights for Achieving Conservation Goals
The Tenure Gap And Its Influence On Socio-ecological Conditions
1University of Maryland, Baltimore County, United States of America; 2University of Washington, United States of America; 3The Nature Conservancy, United States of America; 4McGill University, Canada
In this study, we characterize the ways in which tenure gaps influence socio-ecological conditions. We define the tenure gap as the difference between tenure as defined per law and policy, or those bundle of rights that are statutorily recognized (de jure), and tenure which is socially-defined and realized on-the-ground (de facto). We recognize the importance of assessing both components of this potential gap (where de jure rights are not upheld on-the-ground, or where de facto rights are not formally recognized). We do so using in-depth mapping interviews and structured surveys with land tenure experts from a set of twelve countries across the global Tropics. Our main objective has been to gather qualitative, quantitative, and spatial data to characterize, identify, and assess the characteristics and impacts of tenure gaps in the places where they occur. Here we present preliminary insights from this systematic survey across all countries, and offer case study illustrations of both components of the tenure gap for communities in Colombia, Guatemala, India, and Indonesia. We see the results from this research as offering critical information to conservation and development organizations about one of the major obstacles to strengthening and clarifying land tenure for local stakeholders.
Land Titles and Agricultural Intensification at Forest Margins in Indonesia
Georg-August-University of Goettingen, Germany
This study combines data from a panel survey of farm households and satellite imageries to examine the effects of land titles on agricultural production intensity and the consequential implications for deforestation in Sumatra, Indonesia. Panel regression models show that land titles contribute to significant increases in the use of farm inputs and labor and thus also to higher crop yields. No evidence was found for land titles increasing deforestation. However, using satellite imageries dating back to 1990 we show that farmers who settled at the forest margins are less likely to hold land titles due to government restrictions. Without land titles, these farmers lack incentives to intensify production; to increase agricultural output they can expand their land area by encroaching surrounding forestland. Tolerating deforestation activities by farmers while denying formal title deeds for land at the forest margins can, therefore, contribute to economic marginalization and further deforestation. Besides increasing farmer’s access to land titles over non-forest land, policy responses could include a better recognition of farmers’ customary land rights and simultaneously protecting forestland without recognized claims.
The emergence of Conservation Units in the Western Amazon: the case of Extractive Reserves of Acre
Universidade federal do Acre, Brazil
This article discusses the origin of Conservation Units, especially the extractive reserves in Acre, one of the important forms of recognition of property rights in the region. This, mainly, allows unravel the complex relationship between two opposing processes that express the dynamics of occupation of the Acre state land from the decade of the 70s of the last century (CAVALCANTI, 1983 SOUZA, 2016). During this period began a peculiar economic and social process of occupation of the Amazon lands that are now considered as ideal place for application of capitalist investment, supported by these economic and fiscal policy of the Central Government of Brazil.
The fragility of property rights is considered by a vast literature a crucial obstacle to economic development. There are unanimous in saying that the existence of security of property rights has a crucial role in increased economic efficiency of land use, and ensure political and social stability, reducing conflicts over land (SOTO, 2000; DEININGER, 2003). The process clearly demonstrates the speculative character and this concentrator process of appropriation of large plots of land in Acre. The acceleration and expansion of deforestation on the other hand, shows the degrading aspect of this process.
Participatory Mapping As a Tool and Approach to Define Traditional User Rights of Forest Land
We have been witnessing the rapid development of participatory mapping initiatives for many years, especially in developing but also in developed countries. Participatory approaches to forestry have been evolving in many parts of the world, but very few of them in Europe.
The forestry sector in Albania holds great potential to support national economic growth. Challenges remain with the registration of public forests transferred from the state to newly established municipalities in 2016. Traditional users are managing these transferred lands – mainly to satisfy their basic needs. These are customary rights, generally well-respected, but they are not yet formalized.
The Environmental Services Project supports the registration of forest and pasture lands transferred to municipalities, and the FLED project aims to improve decentralized and sustainable communal forestry. The process of establishing user rights is ongoing, using the participatory mapping approach. The following main actions are taken: participation of the community in the whole process; demarcation of forest users parcels; creating digital maps and field forms; using up-to-date technology (GNSS, GIS); and ensuring council authorization of the mayor to sign an agreement with traditional users. The opportunities for wider use of the approach require greater support and various activities to be taken.