Rural sokshing, Bhutan (I)

Resource System
Watershed and associated topography
Resource Units
Sokshing (leaf litter)

Following the introduction of the Forest Act of 1969 and the Forest and Nature Conservation Act of 1995, the forests of Bhutan are owned and managed by the state, and are legally classified as "Government Reserve Forest". One of two major forest-related indigenous land-use strategies is sokshing [registered leaf litter forests] that is defined as "a part of the Government Reserve Forest registered in the name of an individual and maintained aside for collection for leaf litters required for producing farm manure". Based on this definition, it is clear that individuals and communities in whose names sokshings are registered are not owners but proprietors who have no rights to sell or lease sokshings.

Of eight villages discussed in this case study, four are located in rural areas across Bhutan: Taksha-Sili-Tsara, Tshogoenpa, Kamdar and Wambur. They are not accessible by road and are inhabited by subsistence farmers with limted access to markets. The analysis focuses on the effects of a nationalized forest management on local institutions.

This case was part of a study to determine whether the institutional design principles of Ostrom where, in fact, related to "governance success" by Cox et al.  In that analysis, this case was classified as a success.