Indigenous Land Tenure Reforms in the Conservation of Common Property Resources in the High Forest Regions of South-Eastern Nigeria

Francis Bisong, Elizabeth Andrew-Essien


Study examined the structure of local institutions and their response patterns in evolving mechanisms to deal with the problems of resource degradation in common lands and property resource use and decline, as well as the efficiency levels of resource use patterns under various land tenure regimes. Analysis of field data generated through Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methods and questionnaire survey showed rapidly declining commons in terms of size and volume of harvestable forest products. A significant level of sub-optimality in the efficiency levels to which common property resources were utilized were also evident with no apparent distinction in resource use habits of communities governed by general and specific rights to land. This makes urgent the need for reforms in land acquisition and use practices for resource sustainability at the grassroots. Traditional institutions were found to be responsive and slowly evolving mechanisms to cop with resource degradation problems. Facilitating this process through policies designed to empower grassroots institutions and structures is an important development objective for consideration.

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