Skip to Main Navigation

A Systematic Review of the Impact of Forest Property Rights Interventions on Poverty (英语)

Secure property rights are widely understood as critical for socio-economic development and sustainable land management in forested areas. Policies and programs, ranging from devolution of specific resource rights to formal land titling, have therefore been implemented to strengthen forest tenure and property rights in countries around the world. Despite the prevalence and importance of these efforts, however, systematic understanding of their effects on poverty remains lacking. We address this gap by conducting a systematic review of the impact of forest-related property rights interventions on poverty worldwide. The authors drew from a recent systematic map of evidence on forest-poverty links (Cheng et al., 2019) and using a population-intervention-comparator-outcome (PICO) framework to identify relevant studies. Our final dataset included 61 articles published from 2002-2016 comprising 91 case studies across 24 countries. Of these, only 11 articles (22 cases) used quasi-experimental methods to control for confounders. We find that almost all studied interventions (n equal to 88; 97 percent) focused on rights to access a forest area or withdraw resources from it. Relatively few studied interventions supported the more extensive property rights of exclusion (23 percent) and alienation (8 percent). Overall, reported impacts on both income/consumption and capital/assets dimensions of poverty were generally positive or mixed. Results from more robust quasi-experimental assessments were more variable, however, with an equal number of case studies reporting negative and positive impacts on both poverty dimensions. We find tentative support for the economic theory that more secure property rights yield positive welfare effects. However, evidence from more robust impact assessments remains limited, constraining our ability to draw more generalizable conclusions about the direction of poverty impacts from different kinds of forest property rights interventions.