The use of dina as a natural resource governance tool; lessons learned from Velondriake, south-west Madagascar
The conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources have been major preoccupations of the Malagasy state since the 1980s. Governance of land and natural resources has historically been characterised by state control; all land outside of private property remained the domain of the state, which possessed de jure rights over resource use, while local communities retained de facto rights based on ancestral and customary rights. This created a situation characterised by open access to natural resources; the state was incapable of effectively governing land use in rural areas, while local communities lacked the motivation to submit themselves to the law, which was considered illegitimate. This situation, among other factors, contributed to massive deforestation without contributing to significant progress in terms of rural development. Conscious of these failings, successive governments have progressively adopted a policy of decentralisation of natural resource governance by integrating local communities and transferring management responsibility from the state to local levels. This decentralisation has been manifested in two major initiatives – the development of legislation permitting natural resource management transfers (TGRN), and the rapid expansion of the protected area system.