Property right regimes and sustainable forest management: Lessons from fourteen years of monitoring of forest resources in Uganda
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In Sub-Saharan Africa, deforestation and forest degradation have been the major problems facing natural forest resource management. Lack of clearly defined and enforced property rights, leading to a de facto open access situation have been pointed out as the major causes. National governments have been urged to remedy the situation through tenure changes such as privatisation and decentralization. This paper is based on the UFRIC study in Uganda and aims at investigating as to whether well defined and enforced property rights are a necessary and/or sufficient condition for sustainable forest management. This is done using 28 UFRIC forest sites under either private or government governance arrangements. The analysis indicates that both the state and private owned forests experience high degradation and deforestation levels, however, with high variations across the continuum for each governance regime. The paper concludes that establishing appropriate forms of tenure to delineate boundaries and limit exploitation constitutes an important step toward achieving sustainability. However, we need to identify other factors/conditions to complement this step in achieving sustainability. It therefore adds to other studies which show that the theoretical and policy perspectives concerning appropriate property rights for resources requires recognition of the specific historical, socioeconomic, political, and ecological contexts.