This article reviews research on forests in Central America under the lens of common pool resources literature. It briefly presents research in the region and highlights some limitations of the majority of common property scholarship. The article draws on three case studies in Guatemala and Nicaragua that were part of a study on forest tenure reforms in 2006–2009 to demonstrate the need to expand beyond the traditional questions and methods of common property research. It argues that greater attention must be given to the dynamic, historical processes that produce boundaries and institutions, rather than accepting these as givens.
This article is part of a special issue of the Journal of Latin American Geography on the Latin American Commons. For the full issue, see