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Forest Cover Change and Tenure: A Review of Global Literature

01 Nov 2011
HELVETAS Swiss Incorporation Nepal; Rights and Resources Initiative
Serial No.
Forest Cover Change and Tenure: A Review of Global Literature

In the REDD+ era, the issue of forest tenure has shot to the top of international forest policy agendas. Even beyond the issue of 'REDD readiness,' there is much debate on the role of tenure in other outcomes of sustainable forest management, in particular livelihoods and forest conservation. This literature review focuses on the latter concern and aims to provide a brief overview of the international literature on the question of the relationship between forest tenure and forest cover change. The objective is to discover whether there is evidence that particular forest tenure regimes have significant relationships with forest cover change.

On the basis of a review of literature published in international peer-reviewed academic journals, the following three findings are suggested:

  1. globally, the relationship between tenure regime and forest cover change is mixed and there is no clear evidence to suggest that a specific tenure type will ensure forest conservation; however,
  2. globally, tenure security - including aspects of monitoring and enforcement - is significantly related to improved forest cover; and
  3. globally, local rule-making is also significantly related to improved forest cover.

This study was conducted by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal, in collaboration with the Rights and Resources Initiative.