Resources of mountain environments are often held and used as commons. This paper examines the use of mountain commons in two villages in the Manali area, KuLu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India, where the land settlement of 1886 provided the local people with well defined resource rights and allowed a degree of local control. Each village had a resource area which included a series of zones from agricultural land at about 2,000 m to the highest pastures at about 4,000 m. Within this area, ten categories of land use were identified: three kinds of private property agricultural land; four kinds of common-property grazing land; and three kinds of forest land, two of which had elements of common-property. Diversity of land use was due to a diversity of interests based on gender, caste, and ethnicity. Village-based social institutions, mahila mandais and mimbers, allowed these diverse interests a voice in resource management.
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