Living customary tenure systems in Madagascar: An overview

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Key messages

  • Forest landscape restoration in Madagascar is likely to target forests and pasturelands managed as commons under customary tenure claims that are unrecognized by the state.
  • Efforts to promote policy reforms that recognize customary claims to commons are hampered by limited information about the tenure systems that govern these spaces.
  • Policy makers must recognize the diversity in Malagasy tenure systems when crafting legislation that recognizes customary claims to commons.
  • The extent to which traditional authorities retain legitimacy is arguably a major factor in whether customary tenure systems in rural Madagascar provide stable and effective frameworks through which rights to land and resources are allocated and conflicts resolved.
  • Action-research is needed to bridge the gap between state law and local practices with respect to women’s land rights.


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