Privatization or communalization: a multi-level analysis of changes in forest property regimes in China

Jun He, Bereket Kebede, Adrian Martin, Nicole Gross-Camp

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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Over recent decades, the Chinese government has invested heavily in improving the country’s forest tenure system through the Collective Forest Tenure Reform. This reform has primarily focused on privatization of collectively-owned forests, which has been perceived to improve effective forest management by providing incentives to farmers. This paper documents results of the Collective Forest Tenure Reform and the factors that have shaped these results through a multi-level analysis: at the national, regional, community and individual levels. It was found forest privatization implemented through the tenure reform was much less than what government expected. Instead, as shown in illustrative case-studies, people intend to retain the forest as common property in a way that creates a complex communal forest management system. The paper argued that while it is good the government is willing to improve forest tenure security for local people, there is a need to better consider the local perceptions of the tenure reform policy’s effectiveness and efficiency, and justice in forest management, and to understand the complexity of the pre-existing communal forest management system that exists throughout the country.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106629
JournalEcological Economics
Early online date8 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Collective Forest Tenure Reform;
  • communal management
  • community forest
  • property rights
  • effectiveness
  • justice

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