Taking Ostrom to Indiana forests

October 13, 2009
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

How rich that Elinor Ostrom, the Indiana University professor who won a Nobel prize for economics yesterday, got her nails dirty researching how people in pockets of forests in undeveloped nations allocate their natural resources.

Indiana of course has some of the world’s best hardwood forests. So, how would her theory work here?

Ostrom’s research focuses not on traditional free-market economics or the other extreme of centralized planning, but on how people manage resources when they share the resources in common and make their own rules at the local level.

The rap on common resources—“the tragedy of commons”—is that resources become overused. However, Ostrom found that people who use common property tend to think in terms of making the resources last. They develop rules and acceptable behaviors resulting in more sustainable forests, or water or other resources.

Most Indiana forests have been managed for maximum production of oak, cherry, walnut and other prized species. But environmental groups complain of logging equipment churning up fragile soil and landowners cutting down the best specimens, thus removing their ability to produce seeds.

Timber operators and landowners counter that they care for the land as well as possible in order to maximize their investments, not to mention maintaining a great way of life. Ray Moistner, who leads the Indiana Hardwood Lumberman’s Association, a trade group of sawyers and others in the industry, says forests in the state overwhelming are managed for long-term growth.

In fact, Moistner maintains, the loose-knit network of landowners could be compared to the local groups Ostrom discovered.

“Our lands are sustainable here when left to themselves and to this common group of owners managing their forest land,” Moistner says.

What do you think? Which economic system is best for managing natural resources?

Anyone want to try on Ostrom’s work at a practical level here in Indiana?

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.

ADVERTISEMENT