China started forestland tenure reform in the early 1980s. The reforms have been evolving and vary significantly from region to region. Unlike in agriculture, it is too simplistic to use a household responsibility system (HRS) to generalize about the reforms in forestry. Despite variations in time and place, a trend towards privatization started to become apparent when the central government began a pilot experiment called the “new stage of forestland tenure reform” in the early 2000s and went on to implement the reform nationwide. This paper compares various paths towards decentralization and privatization and the adoption of market mechanisms in collective forestry, but pays special attention to the new reforms by examining and comparing 9 villages in 3 provinces in southeast China where collective forest ownership is dominant. The impact of the new reform along with, public attitudes, and current challenges are investigated and discussed.
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Vol. 11 • No. 4