Monday 5
Problem-oriented approaches to the study of social-ecological systems
Graham Epstein
› 11:05 - 18:00 (6h55)
› Domaine de Restinclières
Does Establishing Property Rights Protect Forests from Roving Bandits?
Michael Cox  1@  
1 : Dartmouth College  -  Website
Hanover, NH 03755 USA -  États-Unis

Many conservation policies are based on the idea that secure property rights prevent the overexploitation of resources. However, evidence from studies of fisheries indicate that secure property rights do not necessarily prevent “roving bandits,” who have high levels of mobility and low levels of dependence on a particular resource, from overexploiting resources they own, and then moving on.

In this paper we conduct an exploratory case-based examination to test whether roving bandits are present in forest conservation. As sessile resources, forests do not require an inherent level of user mobility, and thus may not encourage roving banditry. However, as slow-growing resources they may provide additional incentives for resource users to “cut and run” from one resource system to the next.

To test for the presence and explore the possible mechanisms of roving banditry in forest conservation, we conduct a comparative case study of forest management regimes in the Northern Forest region of the Northeast United States. With a heavily capitalized forest industry and well developed timber markets, this area represents a likely case for the existence of roving banditry. Our methods include structured interviews with employees at forest management firms and a statistical analysis of land cover change in the forests that these firms manage. We find evidence of roving banditry in some, but not all, forest products firms in these regions, and conduct a systematic comparison of cases that exhibit and do not exhibit roving banditry in order to assess policy options that may prevent roving bandits from destroying forests.

This presentation is part of the panel entitled "Problem oriented approaches to the study of social- ecological systems."


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