Talk:Common land

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Opening paragraph[edit]

I suggest that the opening paragraph should state the true meaning of the term, rather than the misconception! The misconceptions about common land could then be explained later in the article. Bluewave 11:25, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Suggested merge with Commons[edit]

The two articles "Common land" and "Commons" appear to be describing exactly the same thing. Bluewave 14:12, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Totally agree - different terms for the same subject. Patientone 11:08, 16 December 2005 (GMT)

Just noticed that someone has finally commented on my proposed merger of these articles! I think the "Commons" article is much the better of the two, so I suggest that we move any useful stuff into it, out of "Common Land", then make "Common Land" into a redirect. Does that sound like a good plan? Bluewave 11:44, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
It probably did when you made the suggestion but I have been bold and moved the combined article to here (common land) as the more "common" usage. Abtract 22:46, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Transferred from commons talk[edit]


Hmmm I know, cod history. I'll see what I can do. Francis Davey 21:50, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I have move references and external links into a section called "Further reading". Only those articles cited in the Wikipedia article should be in the References section. It may be that some of those articles that were in the References section should be there, but if so, then please use WP:FOOT to cite them, before putting them back. --PBS 12:54, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

New England Town Common[edit]

I think the concept of the town common in New England is sufficiently different and important to warrant a section in this article. Anyone have any thoughts? Rkstafford 21:06, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Even though I am unregistered, I agree. I am dismayed not to find mention of commons in New England mentioned here. I didn't think they were different, though, I thought they derived from English commons, it being New England and all. George Washington did marshall the troops on the Cambridge Common, you know. (comment by User: 04:00, 27 September 2007)

Scottish common land tenses[edit]

Good recent edits... I'm a bit confused though about which of the seven types are past and which present. Does the past tense for some mean they no longer exist, or is it just because the law is old? --Richard New Forest (talk) 22:34, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Wikimedia Commons[edit]

I suggest to add a reference to "Wikimedia Commons".-- (talk) 07:05, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Joachim Radkau[edit]

I made some inserts based on Joachim Radkaus Nature and Power: A Global History of the Environment. Publications of the German Historical Institute Series. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. xvii + 430 pp. Notes and index, book reveiew given on [1]. BR --Polentario (talk) 20:29, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposed merge[edit]

User:Pare Mo recently (10 April) put a merge-from tag on this article, proposing to merge Dehesa (pastoral management) into Common land. I agree with the proposal – I've also now put the corresponding merge-to tag on the other article.

It seems clear that dehesa is an Iberian type of common land. The Dehesa (pastoral management) article is a rough translation (presumably from Spanish or Portugese), and it has a limited amount of material. It would be straightforward to incorporate it into a Dehesa section in this article. Any other thoughts? Richard New Forest (talk) 09:43, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

As far as I've ever understood dehesa or montado (from an article in Agroforestry News, published by the Agroforestry Research Trust, from Gordon and Steven Newman's book 'Temperate Agroforestry Systems' and from Cork - Forest in a Bottle) dehesa or montado is a system of land management by farmers and growers in Spain and Portugal - and the farmers are private landowners or tenants, not commoners. I therefore see no reason to merge the dehesa (or montado) article with the common land article. If there are also commoners who use dehesa or montado (perhaps by grazing their animals below the cork oaks and holm oaks on land privately owned by other farmers or landowners) then perhaps that could be added to the dehesa / montado article with a link to the common land article. Rowan Adams (talk) 15:54, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

I disagree with such a merge. Just because the topics are related does not mean we should merge the articles. Separate concepts, such as pannage, can and should have their own articles. Articles should conform to summary style, and there are plenty of facts and sources relevant only to dehesa, which do not apply to the general, global concept of common land. This article is already quite large. Steven Walling • talk 22:21, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Commons Act 2006[edit]

At some point the section about Commons law needs to be updated to reflect the changes brought about by the Commons Act 2006. See DEFRA website. Dmvward (talk) 17:39, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

This has been done Dougsim (talk) 15:18, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Title to land not explained[edit]

It is vital to mention that originally in mediaeval England the common was part of the manor, that is to say it was part of the estate in land owned by the lord of the manor. See the map of a hypothetical manor in the article manor, showing the common as an integral element. Commoners only owned rights over the common, not title to the land itself. The image of Dunkery Beacon was somewhat vague and unexplained, it was certainly an integral part of the local great estate and was (& still is) privately owned. USA commons may be different in that they are possibly?? truly owned "in-common", perhaps by a trust of "joint-tenancy"?, yet the model from which they derived, i.e. mediaeval England is as described above. Village greens in England are still subject to vestigial ownership rights of persons who can prove their claim to be the historical lord of the manor, see the article lord of the manor for modern examples where such claims have been allowed by the courts. There thus seems to be much inaccuracy in the present article, which I will attempt to correct. (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 10:44, 1 October 2011 (UTC))

Partition Units[edit]

What on earth are these? We have:

A partition unit is a corporation that owns common land. In this case, the land is not state-owned or in joint-ownership under a trust, but is owned by a definite partition unit, a legal partnership whose partners are the participating individual landowners. Common lands and waterways owned by a partition unit were created by an agreement where certain land was reserved for the common use of all adjacent landowners.

So, is it a partnership or a corporation? Or do partition units only occur in some jurisdictions (I bet this is so) where Partnership are always corporations or what? My suspicion that this is creeping Americanism is the reference to "state-owned or in joint-ownership under a trust" since most commons in England are neither and have never been either of those. Are these actually "commons" or something like commons? Francis Davey (talk) 13:06, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

There is no reference to this in anything I can find wrt to common land so I have removed it and also the unconnected phrase in the lead. Dougsim (talk)

Perhaps it's a terminology problem. I get the translation "partition unit" for Finnish "osakaskunta" or "jakokunta". The text above describes the concept: it's basically a type of company, albeit one that very rarely does any business. The usual scenario is that when a village was founded by partitioning the land to properties, water courses and adjacent forests were left undivided, as common land. The corporation that then keeps this land is the partition unit. --vuo (talk) 11:54, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Many thanks for your talk note.

So is this a Finnish thing then - ie; only in Finnish juristriction? Could you please clarify. This should at least be made plain; I was totally confused by this entry. Perthaps it should be on a page called common land internationally. It is very confusing for an English person to understand this, due to lack of context, and it has no reference or use in the law or custom of commons in the UK. I think that at the very least it should have some additonal explanation of what it means and some references.

The following text is certainly incorrect for England and Wales - "In contrast to wasteland or unclaimed land, common land has definite owners". (There are not definite owners, and there are many unowned, but registered commons)

Fo the time being I will move the section to the end of the article to minimise confusion as it interrupts the flow of narrative, but I am unhappy about keeping it in this page unless it is made plainer and relevant. If this cannot be done not I suggest it is removed. Dougsim (talk) 12:50, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

This is actually Swedish and dates to the Great Partition (Swedish: storskiftet, Finnish: isojako), which started in 1757 and was largely complete by the 1800s (holdouts existed up to the 1960s!). In the old village system, property was divided in narrow stripes of farmland, and work was done together. In the Great Partition, these properties were combined in a corporation called partition unit (skifteslag / jakokunta), and then redivided into large plots, which were handed to the corporate partners. Land or forest which was not claimed remained in possession of the partition unit, although King Gustaf III requisitioned forests that were not claimed by anyone to the Crown. Since things often move very slowly in real estate, some of these partition units still exist, and partition units are still the most common way of owning waterways. The crucial thing here is that ownership was never transferred to the government, to "unknown owners", or to the "public"; it remains common land in the English sense of the term, despite a different history. The arrangement isn't that different from a regular company owning land - there are no unowned partition units, each have record of ownership in the land registry. I don't think there are references in English, this sort of real estate history is way too obscure to end up in an international publication. I see the article Concurrent estate talks a lot about similar issues, although I didn't see any specific claims on partition units. --vuo (talk) 16:55, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Very interesting. I think you have a good deal of information which needs a home. Can you include this in your text, so people know where it comes from? The heading could then be "Sweden - Partitioning of land. Or is there a common land article on the Swedish Wikipedia it can go into? I see there is an article called Allmänning. Perhaps this is the home. Dougsim (talk) 11:11, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

So are you going to put the relevant references and contextual text in the section? If not it remains incongruous and confusing to the reader, and I will revert or edit. Dougsim (talk) 08:25, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

tragedy of the commons[edit]

I removed a pointless link to the tragedy of the commons (under overgrazing) and would suggest removing others. My humble opinion is that TTOTC is a contentious economic theory formulated by a scientist as a novel angle on "the population problem" it seems to have become influential as a way to discuss the commons and the question of exploitation. My view is there are far better sources on economic theory and the commons than Hardin, particularly Marxists such as Harvey, political theorists like Ostrom or autonomists Hardt and Negri. My view is not to give Hardin a free ride by providing ill-thought out links to his theory just because the title is catchy and seems linked, I think this is in fact damaging. By all means, Hardin has some relevance but it is limited and he should not be the "go-to guy" for commons (talk) 15:21, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

The article Tragedy of the commons has 45 references and a bibliography of 19, and a Google search returns 679,000 results, so I doubt it's Hardin's secret theory invented alone in his basement while thunder is blasting. That doesn't mean he's right - theories like this need empirical verification to be credible - but it means it's notable. The article is less useful without the link. --vuo (talk) 19:43, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes, the article the tragedy of the commons is a very well known piece, as is Hardin's later article, extensions to the tragedy of the commons (in which he shows how over extended the original analogy has become). Nobody is saying that this is a secret. The edit is to remove the link to TTOTC in this context. With the link, what this paragraph is saying is that in common parlance, over-use of a common resource is called "the tragedy of the commons", this is not accurate. Hardin's original article makes a passing analogy to overgrazing (with no empirical examples given) to make a more generalising point about overpopulation. Therefore TTOTC is a hypothetical scenario, probably never experienced in practice due to (as the paragraph goes on to show) many diverse mechanisms in place for the preservation of common resources. My view is that the evocative title of Hardin's article gives the air of authority which is misleading in this context and should not be included. (talk) 18:31, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

I have removed a number of irrelevant or tenuous links to various global economic theories, etc. Instead of text about global theories I have included the vital issue of enclosures which for some peculiar reason has not even been mentioned. They are fundamental to the decline of the common and there is a complete article elsewhere on this large topic, which I have linked. I have added modern legislation, of which there is a lot. I have also done a general tidy-up, format and removal of spurious comments and disconnected phrases. Dougsim (talk) 17:11, 14 November 2014 (UTC)