Drivers of compliance monitoring in forest commons

Graham Epstein, Georgina Gurney, Sivee Chawla, John M. Anderies, Jacopo Baggio, Hita Unnikrishnan, Sergio Villamayor Tomas, Graeme S. Cumming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Lasting community-based governance of common-pool resources depends on communities self-organizing to monitor compliance with rules. Monitoring serves an important function in community-based governance by establishing conditions for long-term cooperation, but the factors that foster its provision are poorly understood. We have analysed data from 177 forest user groups to assess the relative importance of 15 potential drivers of compliance monitoring, as well as the direction and form of their relationships. The results suggest that user groups are most likely to successfully self-organize to monitor compliance when rules are designed by local user groups (local rulemaking), and when those user groups are located close to or far from markets for forest products and have a larger number of members. Additionally, local leadership plays an important role in certain contexts, such as groups that are smaller in size and located near markets for forest products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-456
Number of pages7
JournalNature Sustainability
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


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