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Human Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 49–78 | Cite as

Spatial and Social Boundaries and the Paradox of Pastoral Land Tenure: A Case Study from Postsocialist Mongolia

  • María E. Fernández-Giménez
Article

Abstract

Mobile pastoralists are subject to potentially conflicting needs for secure resource tenure and socially and spatially flexible patterns of resource use. This paradox of pastoral land tenure poses problems for the application of common property theory to the management of pastoral commons. The vagueness, permeability, and overlap of boundaries around pastoral resources and user groups complicate the implementation of formal tenure regimes designed to address insecure pastoral tenures and unsustainable land use patterns. A case-study from postsocialist Mongolia is used to illustrate the problem of spatial and social boundaries for managing pastoral commons. Three solutions to the paradox are evaluated: tenure formalization, rangeland comanagement, and regulation of herders' seasonal movements. An approach that develops and tests institutions to coordinate pastoral movements is recommended over formal tenure for pasturelands, which should be approached with caution in Mongolia.

assurance problem boundaries comanagement common property economic transition land tenure Mongolia nomadic pastoralists rangelands resource management 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • María E. Fernández-Giménez
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Renewable Natural ResourcesUniversity of ArizonaTucson

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