Collective Action for Sustainable Forestry
The article examines the efforts for collective action of ten village communities in the state of Orissa to manage their local forest resources from an institutional perspective. It explores the differential levels of success in the collective action efforts of these communities, and the role of local level community institution therein, for ensuring sustainable resource use and management. The article concludes that only presence or absence of the institution is not always sufficient for sustainable resource management outcomes, despite being a necessary condition for it. The existing institution must be a robust one with strong rules for resource appropriation and good monitoring system. Institutional arrangements for sustainable resource management at the community level must be understood as a dynamic process, which involve a continuous interaction among the community members and the designed institution. The institution formulates the rules and expects the community members to comply such rules. The rule formation should necessarily be backed by a strong and efficient monitoring system to ensure that rules are complied, and accordingly the institution can accord positive incentive in the form of rewards to those who show conformity to rules and negative incentive through punishment to those who violate them. The institutional arrangements without such a strong monitoring system fail to restrict free-ride and hence, could not establish a well-defined property right regime over the resource, which is very much essential for ensuring successful collective action.