An investigation into the adequacy of existing and alternative property rights regimes to achieve sustainable management of the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in Bangladesh

PhD Thesis


Roy, Anjan Kumer Dev. 2012. An investigation into the adequacy of existing and alternative property rights regimes to achieve sustainable management of the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in Bangladesh. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

An investigation into the adequacy of existing and alternative property rights regimes to achieve sustainable management of the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in Bangladesh

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorRoy, Anjan Kumer Dev
SupervisorAlam, Khorshed
Gow, Jeff
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages347
Year2012
Abstract

This thesis identifies theoretical gaps regarding the adequacy of property rights in achieving sustainable management in the world’s largest Sundarbans Mangrove Forest (SMF) in Bangladesh. This will be achieved through an examination of existing and alternative property rights regimes. Gaps are also pinpointed regarding non-compliance with existing policy in conservation practices and the absence of clear quantitative and qualitative methodical approaches for identifying sustained conservation determinants of the forest.

This research aims to fill these gaps by addressing the questions of the adequacy of the existing property rights regime to achieve sustainability. It examines the interaction between property rights and conservation and the necessity for an alternative property rights regime of co-management. It focuses on state property rights regimes within mangrove conservation practices. The subject of this thesis is regarded as one of the oldest mangrove management systems in history, originating in 1875.

The thesis adopts a mixed methods research approach involving household survey, content analysis and focus group discussions. Multiple actors, scales and techniques—with a focus on Forest Dependent Communities (FDCs) and conservation practices by the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD)—are involved in the study. This study considers FDC households as a unit of analysis. Field work was conducted in six villages of the Koyra sub-district and various government offices over a period of four months between November 2010 and February 2011. The field research moves from the household level to the national, division, district, sub-district and international levels. It undertakes a combination of process analysis to establish how mangrove forest conservation is enhanced, the role of FDCs in conservation and why policy fails to advance sustained conservation.

Following a review of descriptive statistics, logit model and content analysis, the study finds the state property regime to be inadequate due to the specific and changing socio-cultural, economic, political and ecological contexts of the SMF and its FDCs. Currently, there is a high prevalence of institutionalised corruption and elite dominance. Existing regime embeddedness obstructs FDCs in their attempt to play a role in management and policy-making processes.

Without understanding the emergence of the common property regime, FDCs’ positive motivation and collective action cannot be incorporated into sustained conservation policy directives. Along with supply-side property rights interventions in line with Schlager and Ostrom’s (1992) theory, this study justifies some key demand-side interventions to achieve sustainable management. This is expected to overcome state property-related hurdles in achieving sustainability of the SMF. Thereby, it highlights property rights embeddedness to improve FDCs’ socio-economic context through a ‘co-management-alternative livelihood mix’.

Keywordsproperty rights; sustainable management; Sundarbans Mangrove Forest; Bangladesh
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440499. Development studies not elsewhere classified
410406. Natural resource management
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Accounting, Economics and Finance
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