Different approaches to the social vision of communal land management: the case of Galicia (Spain)

M. F. Marey-Pérez, I. Gómez-Vázquez, E. Díaz-Varela

Abstract


Communal forests, or Montes Veciñais en Man Común (MVMC), are a specific form of communal land tenure and a singular legal category in Galicia. The growing demographic decline in rural areas and, particularly, in inner areas of Galicia has led to a decrease in the economic interest of forest resources. The complexity of the different management modes or levels of organization of forest communities cannot be explained through a homogeneous interpretation. The objective of this paper is to determine the types, distribution and sources of conflicts, and to describe the role of conflicts as catalysts or barriers for common land management. For that purpose, local, provincial and regional newspaper reports about forest communities were compiled from libraries and the conflicts reported in the media were defined and classified. Spatial analyses, descriptive statistics and statistical classification methods were used to find correlations between the different social, economic or environmental variables involved. Our results reveal a very uneven spatial distribution of conflicts over common land and a stronger impact of social and environmental factors over economic factors. In addition, this paper discusses the interpretation of the higher or lower degree of conflict as a positive or negative contribution to the management of privately owned common land and explains how factors such as the demographic situation in the area, the relationship with the Forest Administration and the incorporation of new actors in the region account for the current situation and the changes in management models.

Keywords


collective private ownership; conflict; uneven spatial distribution

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2010083-1287