Winner’s story: Peter Cronkleton and Anne Larson

Rabel J. Burdge and Donald R. Field Outstanding Article Award

This was the first year that the editors had given the Rabel J. Burdge and Donald R. Field Outstanding Article Award so it came as a surprise, as we had not submitted our article for consideration.

We received a message from the editors of Society & Natural Resources informing us that we had won the award.  This was the first year that the editors had given the Rabel J. Burdge and Donald R. Field Outstanding Article Award so it came as a surprise, as we had not submitted our article for consideration.

Our article compares and contrasts communal and individual properties to examine the relationship between state efforts to formalize property rights and tenure security in the Peruvian and Ecuadoran Amazon. The research examined private individual behavior and land allocation within collective communities as well as collective behavior and land allocation observed individualized communities.

The importance of the collective and social relations for both types of properties was particularly salient in the sources of tenure security identified. Although land title was an important source of security, informants emphasized strong social networks and demonstrated land use as key factors for establishing the legitimacy of land claims with neighbors.

The database was unwieldy, as such datasets tend to be, but even more so because we had collected a lot of qualitative data in addition to the quantitative data.  The analysis was time consuming, but the combination provided for much richer analysis and allowed us to illustrate key relationships more clearly.  The trick to drawing out a compelling narrative from the analysis is to focus on one main question – and to be inspired by current debates.


petercronkleton2016-smallPeter Cronkleton is an Anthropologist with the Center for International Forestry Research conducting research on smallholder forestry, livelihoods and human well-being.  Dr. Cronkleton is a specialist in community forestry development, forest tenure, social movements and participatory approaches to research.  Currently based in Peru, he has worked as a researcher and development practitioner in Latin America for more than 18 years, concentrating on the western Amazon.  A graduate of the University of Florida (M.A. 1993, Ph.D. 1998) he has recently focused his research on institutional change in forest communities during periods of policy reform.

AnneAnne M Larson conducts research on multiple aspects of forest and landscape governance policy and institutions, including property rights, climate change, decentralization, indigenous territories and gender, from local to international scales. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Stanford University and her PhD in 2001 from U.C. Berkeley in Wildland Resource Science, with an emphasis on resource policy and institutions. Current research priorities include opportunities and challenges for forest tenure reforms; women’s rights to land in communal forests; and multilevel governance, REDD+ and low emissions development. She has done both more traditional and action research, as well as supporting innovative efforts such as the design of a diploma course for indigenous communities and community leaders.


Read their winning article: Formalization and collective appropriation of space on forest frontiers: Comparing communal and individual property systems in the Peruvian and Ecuadoran Amazon.

Find out more about the journal Society & Natural Resources