Tilbuster Commons - Creating a Common Property Resource Management Institution

A group of landowners at Tilbuster north of Armidale worked in partnership with the Institute to trial the development of a common property regime under Australian conditions. Such regimes have a long history in traditional farming systems in Europe and can provide a means for farmers to coordinate their management to protect the land resources under their control. The Tilbuster Commons project involved the establishment of procedures for joint decision-making by the landowners, the reorganisation of property boundaries and fencing to create commons for livestock production and for conservation of bushland, and investigation of the use of property law to formalise the rights and responsibilities of the participating landowners.

From European experience, it was expected that the pooling of animals and grazing resources will provide economies of scale, management efficiences, market opportunities and resilience against climatic variability that cannot be obtained from smaller herds on smaller parcels of land. The development of new organisational and institutional arrangements necessary to operate the commons may assist in building social and community cohesion and provide a supportive environment for landowners to acquire new skills.

Related publications

Brunckhorst, D.J and P. Coop. 2003. 'Tilbuster Commons: Synergies of theory and action in new agricultural commons on private land'. Ecological Management & Restoration. 4(1): 13-22.
View details >

Creating a Common Property Resource Management Institution - Final Report
Download PDF >

Bring Back the Commons - Project Brochure
Download PDF >

Completed in 2003

Funded by: Land and Water Australia

Contact: The Institute for Rural Futures