Untangling Tenure

Untangling Tenure

the Netherlands - 18 April, 2019

In 2019, Tropenbos International will conduct a review of community rights to forested land and the key conditions for success. We will dive into the literature and review experiences from across the world. We will collect the stories of communities with collective rights, and bring together the perspectives of various experts. The findings will be shared through regular updates on our website.

In this first update, we start by taking a closer look at the concept of forest tenure: What does it mean? And what are some of the different forms of tenure? In the infographic below, we untangle our definition of forest tenure and explain the key elements.

The review of Tropenbos International focuses on community rights to forested lands, which is a form of communal tenure. Different bundles of rights are possible; from access rights only, to full ownership where the full bundle of rights is transferred to the community. Formalization of community rights usually comes with conditions and communities often need additional capacities to take on new responsibilities, such as such as preparing management plans, carrying out forest inventories, and obtaining permits to harvest, transport and trade forest products.

In many cases, customary rights to community forest lands are not recognized by the state, meaning the communities have de facto rights only. In fact, around 70% of the world's forests are formally owned by governments who may decide to lease them to commercial logging or plantation companies. This has been leading to numerous conflicts between local people and concession holders. In response to these conflicts, many governments have started forest tenure reforms, aimed to formalize local community's rights. In next week’s update, we will look into the extent to which communities have such formal land rights across the world and the reflect on the latest developments. 


Download here the infographic