Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Human Ecology
Title Do property rights matter for conservation? Family land, forests and trees in Saint Lucia, West Indies
Volume 40
Issue 6
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 863-878
URL https://www.mta.ca/uploadedFiles/Community/Bios/Brad_Walters/Family land paper.pdf
Property rights are a central topic in conservation
debates, but their influence on environmental outcomes is
rarely carefully assessed. This study compared land use, tree
planting practices and arboreal vegetation on government,
estate private, smallholder private and communal “family”
lands in Saint Lucia. The influence of tenure was apparent,
but overall not a strong predictor of either farmer practices
or vegetation characteristics. Higher abundance of planted
trees on smallholder private lands was offset by greater
abundance of natural forest trees on estate and family lands.
Tree planting and abandonment of cultivation (with ensuing
afforestation) were commonplace on all three types of land.
The influence of tenure was swamped by other factors
shaping farmer decisions to plant trees, cut trees or abandon
cultivation, including local topography and changing commodity
and labor markets. Findings from this study challenge
the assumption that property rights necessarily determine
resource and environmental outcomes.

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