Land and its use has been a controversial subject since the beginning of time. In the past, the common property problem and pastoralist economic behavior has been a controversial issue. The article that we read dealing with this issue takes place around the world. Common property can easily be used by individual owners of livestock for personal economic gain, and for the insurance against risk. When it is not the land that is being used by is not personally owned by the herder, there will not be as much of a financial risk if they do not have to worry about paying for the upkeep of the land as well. Unfortunately, livestock can lead to the degradation of the land, which can devalue the land. All of this degradation is manmade, so the optimal environmental solution is to avoid unnatural practices to keep the land pristine.
Common property is a state owned property that allows a share of land use between peasants and nomads. Commonly owned property means that the community owns the property, and sets the rules for how they want to use it. The property has been especially useful for farmer’s sheep to graze on over time, when it (the name of an organization in Fontecchio) is allowed for them to do so.
Often times, livestock graze when grasses are germinating, which means the grass doesn’t grow back as well during the off-season when livestock graze elsewhere. It is therefore necessary to set sanctions to make sure that there are regulations on the amount of time the livestock can spend in one place. Herders are given the task of making sure that their cattle move, and the pasture is not degraded.
When our class visited the Marcelli Formaggi farm, we saw this problem in action. With the pigs, donkeys, and 1,000+ sheep, the degradation of land is quite an issue. Making sure that the sheep stay on their 1,600 hectares that the farm is made up of is critical to avoid degrading the surrounding municipality land. The farm also has to be careful to avoid overcrowding their land with sheep, since drought can also be an issue for the livestock if too few resources are left in an emergency.
Even in the U.S. today, we can see similar examples of common property being used for personal economic gain by the example of Cliven Bundy and his sons, where they decided to use federal land for their own cattle to graze on, without the permission of the common land owners (the government). Free riding is an issue that is presented when individuals are able to take advantage of such private property (or commonly/community owned property). The common property theory is failing if it is not being enforced. It is working much better in the case of Fontecchio, where the people are paying for the use of their land, but in the U.S., there has been more of a struggle of imposing the permit costs to its residents. With municipalities, farmers have been able to take advantage of such land for a long time.