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Handbook of Global Environmental Politics

Edited by Peter Dauvergne

The first Handbook of original articles by leading scholars of global environmental politics, this landmark volume maps the latest theoretical and empirical research in this young and growing field. Captured here are the dynamic and energetic debates over concerns for the health of the planet and how they might best be addressed.
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Chapter 15: Incentives Affecting Land Use Decisions of Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowners

Abigail M. York, Marco A. Janssen and Elinor Ostrom


Abigail M. York, Marco A. Janssen and Elinor Ostrom Forests throughout the world provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water purification, soil retention and habitats for wildlife and people. Deforestation and fragmentation threaten the long-term viability of existing forest ecosystems and detrimentally affect people around the world. As growing populations compete for the use of shrinking forest resources, conflicts between individual and collective incentives are frequent, as many forest lands are owned and managed by individuals yet provide collective benefits. Forest-cover change is a global problem that requires analysis of the complex institutional incentives that affect the actions of those who control forest resources. Diverse policies and governance arrangements have evolved throughout the world, establishing rights for extraction and use of forested lands. The preferred forest ownership regime typically reflects traditional property rights existing in each country. Indeed different ownership arrangements have experienced varying degrees of success depending on the setting. Ownership regimes include private property regimes, in which individuals or families control all rights to use of and extraction from a forest, government control of all or part of the rights to use of and harvest from a forest, and communal arrangements, in which individual bundles of rights are distributed differentially within the community, all with varying degrees of success (Ascher, 1995). In Europe, governments and local community organizations have preserved forest lands since 1000AD to provide kings and other magnates with protected areas to keep deer and to kill...

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