Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Public Policy, University of Michigan

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2006
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Public Policy, Indiana University / Bloomington
The Scramble for Property Rights: Renegotiating Livelihoods and Sustainability after Uganda’s Forest Governance Reform

There is growing consensus among donors and conservation minded organizations that forest conservation and poverty reduction are mutually attainable goals. Proponents of this "win-win" outcome without fail cite improved governance of forests, generally understood as the devolution or democratic decentralization of rights and responsibilities, as a central element of policies focused on conservation and poverty reduction. However, the processes and conditions under which governance reforms lead to win-win outcomes are poorly understood. Using the case of a major forest sector governance reform unde1iaken by the Ugandan government in 2003, this research explores the how institutions have been renegotiated at the local level in response to the national reforn1. Specifically my research addresses institutional choice and its' implications by exploring three interlinked questions: (1) Since the forest sector governance reform, how have property rights and the rules used to create and enforce them been (re)negotiated at the local level? (2) Has the contribution of forests to the livelihoods of local resources users been affected by the governance reform? (3) Since the forest sector reforn1, how have forest cover and forest quality changed? This study is unique in that it is conducted at multiple scales (i.e. forest, village, household, and market), uses multiple methods (i.e. qualitative comparative and quantitative analysis), and utilizes data collected before and after the reform. Lessons learned from this research will inform how the forest sector governance reform is doing so far, and will also provide generalizable policy implications that are relevant to other nations in sub-Saharan Africa such as Kenya, which are currently preparing to implement a forest sector governance reform.