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China's forest tenure reform and institutional change at a crossroads

Liu, Ping, Yin, Runsheng, Li, Hua
Forest policy and economics 2016 v.72 pp. 92-98
collective action, cooperatives, forest ecosystems, forests, governance, issues and policy, private forestry, property rights, rural society, China
China's latest rural forest reforms have made headway by further devolving the use rights of collectively owned forestland and relaxing government control over private forestry operations. However, there have been policy inconsistencies, conflicts, and even maladaptions such as harvest restrictions, taking of devolved forestland without fair compensation, lack of flexibility in local execution, and a rush to forming co-ops. Building on recent research advances, this paper attempts to further elucidate practical solutions to these challenges. The authors argue that the stake is high to address these challenges in a timely manner, and that effective and coherent resolutions to them are urgently needed. To that end, it is essential to better understand the institutional economics in regard to property rights, collective action, transaction costs, and governance, and to better understand the primary features of forest ecosystems and forestry as well as the rural society of China. It is hoped that this effort will contribute to the continued discussion and more effective implementation of the forest devolution and institutional transition in China and elsewhere.