Land, conflict and community forestry in Fiji

Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, 2008, 19 (1), pp. 6 - 19
Issue Date:
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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide background information on the land tenure and conflict issues surrounding sustainable forestry management initiatives on customary land in Fiji. Design/methodology/approach: An investigation of literature on land tenure, forestry and related conflict is augmented by two short case studies of sustainable forest management initiatives and the challenges in their execution attributable to customary land issues. Findings Conflicts occur within resource owning communities, between communities and external parties and among external parties. Often conflicts are based on confusion over property rights related issues. Conflicts stemming from differing views on ownership, tenure and property rights within forest management in Fiji, have led to delayed implementation of critical environmental management plans, loss of economic benefits and disintegration within landowning (mataqali ) units. Research limitations/implications: The paper highlights the importance of actively addressing conflicts in community based natural resource management initiatives in order for Fiji to reap the full benefits of community forestry. Practical implications: The paper provides a useful general review for both researchers and forestry practitioners. Originality/value: By providing a general overview of sustainable forest management in Fiji, the paper provides essential background for the subsequent testing of conflict management tools and conflict transformation strategies within a customary context.
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