CAPRi has developed a simple but effective conceptual framework to assess when and how property rights and collective action are likely to affect the application of agricultural technologies and natural resource management practices, based on their spatial and temporal dimensions. As illustrated in the figure, technologies, such as improved varieties that can be adopted by a single farmer within a season, may not be strongly affected by these institutions
However, with longer time horizons between adoption of a technology and receiving the benefits, farmers need secure tenure to have the incentives and authority to adopt. For example, tenants oftencannot plant trees or lack incentives to do terracing.
As we move from on-farm technologies to those that operate at larger spatial scales, there is greater need for collective action to make them work. For example, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) must be coordinated across farms. Most natural resource management has both long time and large spatial scales. Both property rights and collective action are therefore crucial for success in much irrigation, forestry, fisheries, and watershed management, particularly if potential negative impacts on others are to be minimized.
Viewing technologies in this framework allows more precise identification of whether property rights and collective action (or the lack of such) are likely to be constraining or enabling factors in technology choices. It can also provide guidance for the development and dissemination of approaches that are appropriate for the institutional context. For example, practices that operate on a landscape scale may be more appropriate where traditions of cooperation are strong, while those that require a long time to produce benefits may be more successful where tenures are long reasonably secure. Farmers with insecure tenure may benefit more from technologies that produce short-term returns.
For more information on this framework, see Property Rights, Collective Action and Technologies for Natural Resource Management: A Conceptual Framework by Anna Knox McCulloch, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, and Peter Hazell.