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May 28th, 2015
Governing Land and Natural Resources in a Global Economy

Formalization measures are implemented by governments to curb unsustainable exploitation of lumber, fisheries, minerals, and other natural resources. The idea is that social and environmental norms will develop through political and legal regulatory systems that incentivize responsible harvesting and trade. This in turn will reduce poverty, pollution, human rights abuses, and conflict, while simultaneously bolstering economic development. These noble intentions, however, are not always the end result—when carried out negligently, formalization can lead to corruption, exclusion of marginalized people, economic loss, and environmental damage.

The results of formalization are determined by a wide assortment of influences, from socio-political conditions of immediate concern to the larger historical contexts of the areas in which it’s carried out.  While often enforced by powerful governing bodies, formalization can also come out of grass-roots organizing, when individuals realize a need to regulate available natural resources to better their communities on a smaller scale.

For supplemental information, please visit:

View a video of the Guest Editor discussing the issue at:

Read more about the issue on CIFOR’s Forests News Blog:

SPECIAL ISSUE: Formalization as Development in Land and Natural Resource Policy

Volume 28, Issue 5, 2015

View online at:

For supplemental information, see

About Society & Natural Resources

2013 Impact Factor of 1.065 and Five-Year Impact Factor of 1.477*

Society and Natural Resources publishes a broad range of social science research and thinking on the interaction of social and bio-physical processes, policies and practices occurring around the world and at multiple scales.  These involve attention to cultural, psychological, economic and political perspectives relating to forests, oceans, fisheries, soils, and water; and address a variety of topics such as people and protected areas/biodiversity conservation, globalization and capitalism, environmental justice, place/community-based conservation, community resilience, adaptive and collaborative management, sustainability, climate change, environmental attitudes and concerns, environmental hazards and risks, and human-nature relationships.  Papers published in Society & Natural Resources go through a double-blind, peer review process and meet standards of contributing significantly to theory and/or transformative policies and practices, offering scholarly depth but broad appeal to our diverse readership.

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