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Title: Forest Property Rights, the Role of teState and Institutional Exigency: The Ethio 'an Experience
???metadata.dc.contributor.*???: Melaku, Bekele
Keywords: Institutions, State, property rights;civil soeiety, public policy, community
Issue Date: Sep-2003
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Abstract: The assumed reasons provided for the current grim situation in Ethiopian forestry are diverse. This study identified forest property rights as the most important (defining) research entry point to understand the problem. The aim was to generate knowledge by studying past experiences and contemporary outcomes in forest property rights and draw lessons for the future. Moreover, through interviews, the study attempted to capture the experiences and perceptions, responses and preferences (in forest property rights) of the involved forest communities and forestry experts. The thesis presents a brief history of the Ethiopian forests followed by the research problems, the research objectives and questions, methods and tools. Contending theories of the State, civil society, public policy formation, and property rights over natural resources are examined to guide the study. The institutional changes in forest property rights regimes particularly from 1936 until the present are covered; and the relevant legal documents pertinent to forest property rights are analysed. The study also includes the historical and contemporary situation of three case studies from Ethiopia where community views and preferences are presented and discussed. At the end of the thesis the main findings are summarized; an attempt is made to conclude the study by providing some thoughts in light of the theoretical settings and the country's experience in forest property rights arrangements. The findings showed that in the past one hundred years forest property regimes have changed from the one to the other, each time resulting in alienating communities and generating conflicts between the latter and the State. From late 19th century and more between 1942 and 1974 the State's generous distribution of natural forests created individual property rights regimes over large tracts of forests hitherto unparalleled For the reasons provided in the text the State failed to regulate the utilization of private and State forests ensuing widespread deforestation. The 1975 nationalization act and the subsequent policies further alienated communities and instigated conflicts that grew in scale and intensity. At present conflicts over forest resources have become a defining factor in the relationship between the State and communities around forests. The study indicated that when the State acted against the villages, the latter moved against" the resource. Property rights institutions shape individual actions and expectations, regulate relations between individuals and between the latter and the physical resource. The formation and maintenance of such institutions have always been the primary public task of an authority system, the political State. Where the latter failed in its task it was inevitable that resource depletion occurred, something that still happens today. Forest property rights in Ethiopia remained politically instigated, unjust, ill defmed, and in ecure. Such circumstances invited conflicts among resource users, particularly between the State and communities. And the conflicts not only consumed resources but also became incompatible with forestry development in the country. The future of forestry and stable property rights regimes are closely interwoven.
Appears in Collections:Center for Rural Development Studies

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