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The Evolution of Resource Property Rights$
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Anthony Scott

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198286035

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198286035.001.0001

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Forestry on Public Lands from the Medieval to the Modern Era

Forestry on Public Lands from the Medieval to the Modern Era

(p.399) 11 Forestry on Public Lands from the Medieval to the Modern Era
The Evolution of Resource Property Rights

Anthony Scott

Oxford University Press

The chapter examines the origins of the tenures in American and Canadian public forests. They began with the licenses on English Crown forests, the medieval monarch's personal property. On such forests naval timber reserves were created, first in England then overseas. Desirable trees were marked with a broad arrow. After the revolution both the US and Canadian governments succeeded to huge acreages covered with trees. The new US federal government did not develop a specific timber-land tenure or sale procedure. The chapter offers the explanation of high classification costs and enforcement costs. Also the Canadian provinces were prevented by high land classification costs from offering timber lands for outright sale. Instead they offered timber-cutting licenses, and later they assigned forests to particular firms as incentives for investing in sawmills. In the 1940s Canadian provinces went one step further and offered to combine a mill's owned or licensed forest with dedicated government forest, thus producing large managed sustained-yield ‘agreement’ units. The US had already created managed National Forests, some closely integrated with neighbouring timber-using plants and communities, but tended by government. Apart from their agreement units, the Canadian provinces now offer short-duration licenses or ‘timber sales’ to commercial loggers.

Keywords:   agreement tenure, classification, property rights, mill concessions, licensing, taxation of forests, timber revenue

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