Effect of instituting "Authorized Neighborhood Associations" on communal (Iriai) forest ownership in Japan

Utako Yamashita*, Kulbhushan Balooni, Makoto Inoue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, changes in traditional communal (Iriai) forest ownership have been taking place in rural Japan. One cause is the emergence of Authorized Neighborhood Associations introduced under the revised Local Autonomy Law, 1991. This study analyzes the effects of instituting multifunctional Authorized Neighborhood Associations on collectively owned forests in Japan. It examines the comparative institutional and policy characteristics of Authorized Neighborhood Associations and two other types of forest ownership, and presents findings based on case studies undertaken in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. The study reveals that hamlets are establishing Authorized Neighborhood Associations to acquire formal collective ownership of Iriai forests, adapt to present socioeconomic realities, and reduce bureaucratic transaction costs. Authorized Neighborhood Associations are clearly emerging as an attractive alternative to other formal and informal grass-roots forestry institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-473
Number of pages10
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Forest Producers' Cooperatives
  • Iriai forest and system
  • Iriai rights holders
  • Japan
  • Neighborhood Associations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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