Tenure Analysis

Ideas matter and narratives can shape policymakers' decisions. Timely and robust analysis at global– and regional-levels can actively advance sound arguments and counter myths and misunderstandings surrounding policy issues that are central to forest and local peoples' rights.

Producing thorough tenure analysis requires significant effort from specialized analysts, verification by country-experts and standardized methods and definitions. Ensuring that the data is accessible, relevant and regularly updated requires broad outreach to knowledgeable activists, researchers and policy makers.

RRI’s Approach

Rigorous analysis, dedication to developing standardized methods and definitions and constant verification by specialized analysts and experts has made RRI a trusted and leading resource on forest-tenure data. RRI mobilizes and trains a number of skilled tenure analysts around the world and works with them to establish a dynamic and accessible tenure data platform.

For the past six years, the Tenure Analysis program has focused on developing systems and methodologies to track and report the evolutions in forest tenure from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives and to report on global progress on RRI targets.

Deepening Rights

RRI has developed a database monitoring the dynamics of statutory forest tenure rights over time in approximately 45 forested countries covering more than 90% of the world’s forests. As a compliment to this work, RRI has prepared a new legal analysis to provide a fuller picture of Indigenous Peoples and community forest tenure rights in 27 countries representing 2.2 billion people and 75% of the developing world’s forests.

The most recent analysis, entitled What Rights? A Comparative Analysis of Developing Countries’ National Legislation on Community and Indigenous Peoples’ Forest Tenure Rights, studies tenure distribution data by clarifying what legal rights are associated with Indigenous Peoples and community forest tenure regimes. It unpacks the collective rights to forestland and forest resources held by communities and codified in law.

In order to compare community forest tenure regimes and to identify particular regional and global patterns in the recognition and allocation of rights, we used the “bundle of rights” typology to guide analysis. This typology was popularized in common-property scholarship by Schlager and Ostrom, which comprises the rights of access, withdrawal, management, exclusion, and alienation. In this study, RRI takes the bundle two steps further to incorporate the temporal and resilient dimensions of rights. By looking at duration and extinguishability,  the analysis also considers whether a regimes expire after a given period, and if the law guarantees communities due process and compensation if the state revokes or extinguishes those rights. 

By looking at the many rights associated with tenure, we are better able to understand what tenure means on the ground and how it varies widely by country and region. This research goes beyond gathering data on the recognition of rights to map the distribution of the bundles of rights to forest resources held by communities and codified in legally binding laws and regulations in 27 selected countries.

For more information on the findings of the report, click here.


Learn more about how we use findings from our Tenure Analysis program