iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Does higher owner participation increase conflicts over common land? An analysis of communal forests in Galicia (Spain)

Manuel Francisco Marey-Pérez   , Emilio Díaz-Varela, Alexia Calvo-González

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 4, Pages 533-543 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1060-008
Published: Dec 01, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Research Articles

Communal forests or Montes Vecinales en Mano Común (MVMC) are a type of private collective land in Galicia (NW of Spain) that amounts to approximately one third of its forest land. There has been a series of changes in MVMC ownership and management throughout the 20th century. Uncertainty about ownership, changes in population and the presence of the Forestry Authority bring about deficiencies in management and increases conflict. This paper analyses MVMC management in 1.731 parishes in Galicia. The digital records of local and regional newspapers were used to compile a database consisting of 2.734 news reports related to MVMC issues. The results of hypothesis testing and of spatial analysis show that population, agricultural activity and land use affect management and conflict rates. This paper discusses how active management and conflict are complementary models, and how the presence or absence of one or the other is a determining factor in the situation of each parish. It concludes that it is necessary to implement management models and strategies to minimise conflict and increase active management for sustainable forest development in the region.


Commonly-owned Private Property, Communal Forests, Media, Social Participation, Management Models

Authors’ address

Manuel Francisco Marey-Pérez
Emilio Díaz-Varela
Alexia Calvo-González
Escola Politécnica Superior, Dept. Agroforestry Engineering, University of Santiago de Compostela, E-27002 Lugo (Spain)

Corresponding author

Manuel Francisco Marey-Pérez


Marey-Pérez MF, Díaz-Varela E, Calvo-González A (2014). Does higher owner participation increase conflicts over common land? An analysis of communal forests in Galicia (Spain). iForest 8: 533-543. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1060-008

Academic Editor

Raffaele Lafortezza

Paper history

Received: Jun 27, 2013
Accepted: Oct 16, 2014

First online: Dec 01, 2014
Publication Date: Aug 02, 2015
Publication Time: 1.53 months

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