Securing Tenure Rights for Forest Landscape-Dependent Communities: Linking science with policy to advance tenure security, sustainable forest management and people’s livelihoods

Project leader
Location Indonesia, Uganda, Peru
Project status
Project start
Project end
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. Recent tenure reforms in Africa, Asia and Latin America provide greater legal recognition of customary and local authorities, indigenous territorial rights, and women's rights. However, implementation of these reforms has been uneven and has led to mixed results, including increasing tenure insecurity. This global comparative study on tenure explores the relationships between statutory and customary land tenure and how these relationships affect the tenure security of forest dependent communities, including women and other marginalized groups. Through the use of a global comparative approach and standardized methodologies, this research programme analyses differential success or failure of policy and institutional innovations intended to enhance secure tenure rights for forest and trees, and identify strategies that are likely to lead to desired outcomes. The focus countries are Indonesia, Uganda and Peru, and to a lesser extent Nepal and Kenya.

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