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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 51-73

'Without Co-ops There Would be No Forests!': Historical Memory and the Restitution of Forests in Post-socialist Bulgaria

P O B 129, Copper Centre, AK 99573, USA

Correspondence Address:
Barbara A Cellarius
P O B 129, Copper Centre, AK 99573
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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In the wake of Bulgaria's post-socialist restitution of formerly private forests, cooperatives have widespread support among residents of the central Rhodope mountains as a way to manage the newly re-privatised resource. This support occurs despite privatisation programmes designed to foster individual private ownership and a history of socialism, which might bias people against cooperative institutions. Reasons for the favourable attitude towards cooperatives include the economic rationale of large-scale forest management along with social memory of pre-socialist forestry cooperatives in the region as valued community institutions that supported community projects, produced income for forest owners, provided jobs, and managed the forests efficiently and transparently. This case study con­tributes to a better understanding of natural resource management under post­socialist conditions in which individuated private property often receives the most attention.

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