Human Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 201–230 | Cite as

Private Versus Common Property Forests: Forest Conditions and Tenure in a Honduran Community

  • Catherine M. Tucker


Establishing secure tenure is widely recognized as a fundamental component of sustainable forest management. Policy-makers generally prefer privatization to achieve these ends, although common property institutions may also be appropriate. But if common property tenure is insecure and fails to control exploitation, theory predicts that private tenure should lead to better forest conditions. In this case study of a western Honduras community, forest mensuration data were collected from four private forests and two relatively open access common property forests. Statistical analyses failed to find consistent, significant differences in vegetation structure or soils related to tenure. Notable contrasts between forests reflected historical conditions and owner preferences. Neither form of tenure appeared to emphasize concerns for sustainable management, and ongoing processes of change constrained the possibility for limiting common property forest exploitation. The study adds to others which show that the outcomes of private or common property tenure relate substantially to the socioeconomic, political, and ecological context.

forest management land tenure privatization common property Honduras 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine M. Tucker
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Institutions, Population and Environmental Change (CIPEC)Indiana UniversityBloomington, Indiana

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