Managing the commons

This project explores the role of commoning forests in building community resilience and its impact on rural transformation processes. Commoning is understood as a dynamic process of negotiating the rules for the use and care of the forests in ways that the responsibility for the management, benefits and costs of it are shared among the community. Spanish and Portuguese forests have been the stage of (re)commoning processes since the 1970’ when the Military Regimes that took control over communities’ lands fell.

Understanding why and how communities engage in different levels of commoning and the Commons’ roles is essential to look for strategies to foster and legitimise this ancient right within the contemporary society. I study the emergence of commoning-communities looking at commoning institutions. Institutionalization means that commoning practices become part of the patterned behaviour of a community, who reproduce them with their daily social relations. Within this perspective, institutions are the result of the creative piecing together of different arrangements, styles of thinking, and social relationships to produce new or adapted institutions- process referred to as institutional bricolage. I follow a case-study approach with two cases in Spain and one in Portugal where I will undertake interviews, focus groups and participant’s observations. On top of that, I will design and implement a participatory process for the Portuguese case-study exploring ways for re-framing views and discourses around the Commons.

My research intends to resonate on three areas (1) on the policy domain by revealing conflicts and mismatches between policies regulating forest commons and the interests and ways-of-doing of the commoning-communities’, (2) on the community domain by providing hints to the commoning movements for supporting emerging commoning-communities, and (3) on the research domain by suggesting plausible ways by which sustainability scientists may enhance commoning and sustainable transitions



Researcher: Marta Nieto Romero

Marta Nieto2
Website: LinkedIn/martanietoromero
Host: University of Aveiro
Supervisors: Dr. Sandra Valente
sandra valente
Co-supervisor: Prof. Talis Tisenkopfs
talis tisenkopfs
1st secondment: Royal HaskoningDHV 
2nd secondment: University of Latvia