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3628

From Exclusion to Ownership

William D. Sunderlin, Jeffrey Hatcher and Megan Liddle

This report finds that the transition did continue in the 2002–2008 period. The area of state ownership
declined, and there were corresponding increases in the area of forests designated for use by communities and indigenous peoples, the area owned by communities and indigenous peoples, and the area owned by individuals and firms.
Though the tenure transition continues, progress is mixed. Among the main problems are that: governments
retain a firm grip on the majority of forests and the forest tenure transition is slow; statutory reforms do not always result in more secure tenure; action on human, civil, political, and gender rights is also necessary to improve well-being, and progress on this front is slow; the area of industrial concessions still greatly exceeds the area of forest designated for use by, or owned by, communities and indigenous peoples; industrial claims on forest lands are increasing sharply, for biofuels production among other reasons;
and some governments are performing poorly in carrying out the reform process.
However, there is good news: many new national reforms have been announced in 2002–2008 recognizing
forest land access and ownership of local people; research results add to the evidence that strengthened forest tenure for communities and individuals can improve well-being, enable exclusion of outside claimants, and improve forest management and conservation; world attention to climate change offers the possibility of increasing the bargaining power of forest peoples; and there is evidence of growth in the movement to strengthen local forest tenure.
The report closes with recommendations on how the forest tenure reform process can be carried forward.

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