«Dissertation Zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Doctor rerum agriculturarum (Dr. rer. agr) eingereicht an der Landwirtschaftlich-Gärtnerischen ...»
From scientific antecedents, the expansion of cropland, pastures, plantations, and urban areas in recent decades is obviously accompanied by a large increase in water and fertilizer consumption. The unsustainable use of resources has caused considerable losses of land productivity in terms of both natural hazards and anthropogenic factors. With the ever increasing trend of population growth, the pressure on land uses has also increased. Such competition for land uses by the various stakeholders ultimately affects land quality to a level at which land is considered as being degraded, mainly because of soil erosion, water logging, and salinity.
Weak institutions also cause land degradation; this is a new view, and limited work has been done in this regard. Institutions play a vital role in combating land degradation. Many nations have designed relevant policies and found highly remarkable results. Most of this work involves government policies for the market system and reclamation of damaged resources. Rules and property rights are defined to improve land conditions. Sometimes, the misuse of property rights enhances the problem of land degradation.
A search of the available literature makes it obvious that no one has explored conflicts related to intergenerational land distribution in Pakistan, a possible reason for land degradation. The present study thus represents a way forward to analyze the relationship between the impacts of land property rights on the land degradation within a particular area in Pakistan. This investigation focuses on finding the causes of land degradation and tries to link these causes to land distribution rights among heirs in the case study regions. The findings should be helpful in bridging the gap between farm-land use and the behavior of the actors causing conflicts, which are considered the reasons of land degradation.
The people of Pakistan are clearly not aware of their rights because of illiteracy, whereas poverty is another hurdle in the way of proper institutional implication. A review of the policies and institutions related to land distribution and land use will be helpful in the management of degraded land and for the relationship of land distribution and land degradation at the family level or the land-use conflicts related to land distribution and land degradation. A revaluation of these institutions and property rights will be supportive not only at the micro level, but also at the macro level as an increase occurs in GDP of the nation. An understanding of the concept of property rights and the rights of the alienation of land is therefore necessary; these will be explained in Chapter 3.
3 Theoretical Background of Institutions for Land Degradation Analysis
3.1 Introduction Only twenty five percent of the total cultivable land is free from soil problems in Pakistan (Mian and Mirza 1993), and because of growing land degradation, the rice-producing areas show negative efficiency (Ahmed 2010 forthcoming) in past few years. A reduction in the capacity of the land has been caused by many natural and human factors, the failure of institutions or the improper implementation of rights being one of them. Rasul and Thapa (2007: 9) argue that an insecure land tenure system plays a significant role in increasing land degradation, as it increases pressure on the natural resource. Social inequalities due to the skewed structure of land ownership encourage soil erosion (FAO 1992: 21).
To understand the dynamics of the property rights and their effects on land degradation, the property rights of land owners and the social norms and culture in the area need to be clarified. The implementation of these rights is helpful in land use and land-use change, which might cause land degradation. The objective of this chapter is to obtain an understanding of how property rights work in practice and to analyze different conflicts between the actors regarding property rights and the land use causing land degradation. To achieve these objectives, I will provide a comprehensive overview of the property rights theory, the distributional theory of institutional change, and the theory of property rights for conflicts.
The chapter is divided into several subsections including the introduction. In Section 3.2 different terms related to institutions including property rights and conflicts are defined, whereas in Section 3.3, the Institutions of Sustainability (IoS) framework is explained, and a conceptual framework based on this framework is derived in Section 3.4 for investigating conflicts of land use and land degradation caused by inappropriate property rights. Sections
3.5 and 3.6 include theories related to land degradation and land distribution conflicts, with Section 3.7 presenting the summary and conclusions of the chapter.
3.2 Definitions in Institutional Analysis 3.2.1 Institutions From the early history of mankind, basic issues of the scarcity of goods and their distribution have been extremely important, and regulations are essential for the resolution of these issues (Furubotn and Richter 1998: 60). These regulations are called institutions and have been defined in different ways during the various eras. In traditional theory, researchers explain institutions as “science of choice and the utility maximizing version of economic man” (discussed by Hodgson 2004: 4). Institutions are “prevalent habits of thought with respect to particular relations and particular functions of the individual and of the commodity” (Veblen 1965: 190).
Similarly, in new institutional economics, institutions are built on the concept of human interactions for a specific preference function. Researchers claim to deal with a lower level of transaction costs for the survival of the peculiar institutional forms for different alternatives (Hodgson 2004: 6). The study of human behavior for the selection of the best alternative is generally accepted to need some defined patterns. Investigations of such behavior develop different institutions that are said to be the observations of the individual behavior in a specific direction (Furubotn and Richter 2000: 6) and to structure everyday life to reduce uncertainty (North 1990: 3).
Interactions between different actors are a continuous process (Sjöstrand 1992: 8), and institutions have evolved from the habits of those actors and are described as regulators in the amelioration of society (Tool 1986: 5). Institutions can be said to be a “social construct” dependent on choices of some human actions performed unconsciously (Vatn 1995: 6). These interactions, between different people or groups in the society in formal or informal ways,
have also been given the name of a “web of interrelated norms” by Nee and Ingram (1998:
19). Different groups of societies follow these rules of social interactions in a particular environment of institutions to attain the desired goals. According to Knight (1992: 1), institutions are simply an endeavor to live in a society with rules that develop a social interface; all the members of the entire group should know about these rules (ibid: 2). It is important that each member of the entire group should follow these rules without violation for the betterment of the society. Institutions are also known not only to be responsible for shaping the society, but also to be the key to understanding historical change through time (North 1990: 3).
Institutions are helpful for understanding the history of the era of reforms in any nation by examining the cultural evolution and change in public policies. Institutions may be “formal constraints” in the form of rules that are enforced, e.g., statutes, laws, constitutions, and land property rights, and may be “informal constraints”, such as customs, social norms, codes of conduct, and sanctions (ibid 1990: 4). Pejovich (1997: 23) has explained the same concept of institutions as “the legal administrative and customary arrangements for repeated human interaction. Their major function is to enhance predictability of human behavior." They may be norms that arbitrate individual and group action or some legal settlements among individuals (Bromley 1998).
Anthropologists define institutions as the interpretation of knowledge and power that can also be manipulated to serve a specific purpose or to attain some goals (Mehta et al. 1999) and are entrenched in the particular local history (Granovetter 1985, Mosse 1998). In this study, both economic and anthropological concepts are used. The functional perspective of institutions explains individual behavior in terms of the maximization of the utility gained from the distribution and usage of land. Similarly, a structural concept is helpful for understanding the actors’ attitude in terms of their authority to use and distribute their resources, particularly with respect to land. This study explains human interactions, the structure of the society, and particular the local history of some specific regions in the presence of institutions.
3.2.2 Formal and Informal Institutions
In general, institutions are social practices that are continuously repeated in a regular manner.
They link different rules and interactions that occur in the society and that are allowed by norms and valuable in the overall social environment (Jessop and Nielsen 2003: 2). This study emphasizes both formal and informal institutions, as many authors have explained that the reproduction of institutional design is not solely dependent on social norms. Both formal and informal rules are important to make a strong institutional structure. All state and official laws are part of a formal setup and act as an external force. Traditions, culture, and customs are informal and act as a force from inside the system (Pejovich 1997: 23). These formal and informal institutional aspects are categorized at each level of society and can be small scale, such as family or friends and working groups, or large social setups, such as organizations and the entire economy (Nee and Ingram 1998: 19).
Informal institutions (norms, culture): Institutions that are not officially recognized and are lacking in authorized protection are categorized as informal institutions. North (1990: 36) emphasizes notions of informal constraints as customs or norms and explains them as constraints that reduce the costs of human interaction. These social rules are normally shared but are unwritten, created, conveyed, and implemented without any official order (Helmke and Levitsky 2004: 727), for example, by culture or convention.
Culture is the transfer of knowledge and values from one generation to the next generation and affects human behavior (Boyd and Richerson 1985: 2). The concept of cultural knowledge is also very well explained by Hayke in 1960 in his theory of cultural evolution.
According to his concept, culture is the knowledge that a human can obtain from his past experience because of changes in his behavior and environment. Although this knowledge is less confined than scientific knowledge, it contains more information about the social habits, skills, emotions, attitude, and history of institutional adaptation (Mantzavinos 2009: 10). On the basis of such knowledge, people build up an organization composed of their values, whereas societies are associated with these organizations and institutions, which are a reflection of those values (Hofstede 1984: 15). Culture can also be defined as the transfer of thinking from parents to children, teachers to students, and one society member to others (ibid: 20). Conventions are special types of informal rule, which have self-policing characteristics. After the implementation of these rules, it is difficult to change them (Mantzavinos 2009: 13). From the past, we know that every society has particular cultural and conventional changes with the advancement of time.
Apart from culture, informal rules that are neither proclaimed by a court or a legislator, nor dictated by the threat of legal sanctions are called social norms. These are controlled through the mind, and strong emotions can affect them (Elster 1989: 100). Some norms are self-enforced, e.g., without an understanding of the language, it is difficult to spend the whole of one's life in a foreign country. Some norms are based on emotions, although some are
accomplished by disapproval and are obeyed out of sense of guilt or shame (Posner 1997: