Massive deforestation and degradation of forest conditions have been taking place in developing countries for several decades.1 Since the capacity of governments to protect and manage forests are limited, and the incentives to do so are even more so, state-owned forests tend to become severely degraded (Somanathan, 1991; Ostrom, 1990; Jodha, 2001). An alternative system is community management even though the forest may be owned by the state, as in the case of Nepal. Since the protection of forests is often costly, however, socially excessive extraction of resources, or the ‘free rider’ problem, may arise under community management, which may lead to ‘the tragedy of the commons’, as described by Hardin (1968). Such a bleak scenario, however, is not inevitable. In particular, if secure property rights on forests are provided to the community, it may then have incentives to protect and manage forests effectively.
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- From Deforestation to Reforestation: The Evolution of Community Forest Management in the Dang District of Nepal
Narayan Raj Poudel
- Palgrave Macmillan UK