Institutional Barriers to Sustainable Forest Management: Evidence from an Experimental Study in Tajikistan

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Ulan Kasymov - , Chair of Ecosystem Services, Humboldt University of Berlin (Author)
  • Xiaoxi Wang - , Zhejiang University, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Author)
  • Dimitrios Zikos - , University of Applied Sciences Berlin (Author)
  • Massih Chopan - , Humboldt University of Berlin (Author)
  • Benedikt Ibele - , Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (Author)


Joint Forest Management (JFM) is a form of participatory forest governance that aims for protection, conservation and sustainable use of forest resources by involving local communities. The JFM reforms have been promoted to address forest and land degradation, as vital in reducing institutional uncertainty in complex environments and strengthening cooperation among resource users. We draw on theories of collective action and transaction costs assuming that the overharvesting problem can be reduced by efficient and effective rules that support cooperation between forest users in using common pool resources at the group level and explore how forest users respond to policies that aim to reduce overharvesting in Tajikistan. To this end, we used a framed field experiment involving actual forest resource users. We find a strong impact of rules and the associated transaction costs in dealing with environmental and institutional uncertainties. The experiment results indicate that the harvesting rate is likely to decrease when institutionalized mechanisms are introduced to coordinate the interdependence among resource users. The overall results suggest that the rule determining harvest on a rotational basis is effective in reducing harvesting under environmental uncertainty regardless of the existence of communication and under institutional uncertainty when communication is permitted.


Original languageEnglish
Article number107276
JournalEcological economics
Issue number193
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

External IDs

unpaywall 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107276
Mendeley 18aa96d6-818e-3680-a211-f1e67c05dc16
WOS 000728751200004
ORCID /0000-0001-5620-1379/work/142236414


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Central Asia, Communication, Environmental and institutional uncertainties, Field experiment, Forest management, Institutions

Library keywords