Tenure rights and access to forests: A training manual for research, Part I. A guide to key issues
This training manual outlines major contemporary issues surrounding forest tenure rights, and provides guidance on how to incorporate information about tenure into research. While there is a significant amount of research on tenure rights, the author assets that, it is important to revisit this work since tenure rights to forests are changing. There are mutliple processes underway, leading to seemingly more rights for people who live in forests as well as a greater privatization of forests. Understanding tenure rights is also critical given increased land-grabbing for purposes ranging from climate change mitigation to conservation.
Research goals & methods
This manual is divided into two parts. The first part reviews the literature to outline key themes and concepts related to tenure rights. The second part presents an overview of tools and methods to identify areas for research and conduct research on issues surrounding tenure rights.
Conclusions & takeaways
The manual begins by defining tenure and tenure rights and their importance in forest landscapes. The questions around tenure matter for forests and livelihoods because: (a) insecure tenure has been linked to deforestation and forest degradation, (b) secure access to forest resources has been shown to improve food security, (c) tenure is often a requirement for compensation and benefit schemes, and (d) the formalization of tenure can often leave the most marginalized worse off. However, the author warns that tenure security does not always improve conservation outcomes. Formalizing tenure rights does not always leave forest-based people better off and typically has unequal impacts on different sections of people. Thus, when choosing between public or private tenure regimes or individual or collective regimes researchers should note that there is no one ideal tenure regime. The success of any tenure regime depends on a number of interrelated and variable factors including the role of the state, competing interests in forest land, the role of collective action, and power dynamics within communities.
Larson, A.M. (2012). Tenure rights and access to forests: A training manual for research. CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia.
- Center for International Forestry Research