Forest tenure reform has been at the center of the debate,
 on national as well as international policy agendas, in recent years. The reform is intended to give customary communities, local communities or local governments ownership or some level of rights over forestland and resources. Despite over two decades of experience of tenure reform in most of the developing countries, the impact of the reforms on the ground has fallen short of the expected outcomes. The reforms are either inadequate in conserving forest resources or providing limited livelihood returns for
 local people.

The research on forest tenure reform has demonstrated that a number of factors including a regulatory framework, administrative management, market forces, resource systems, and community attributes are key in determining the impacts of the reforms. However, there is limited understanding of the extent to which each of these factors affect the outcomes at the systems level. The research accommodates history, scale and power dimensions of reform into consideration, and aims to generate insights by investigating the emergence, concurrent implementation practice, key outcomes and bottlenecks of these reforms.

The current research program builds on CIFOR's existing body of knowledge on forest tenure reform.

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