This work contributes to the wide literature on the commons and on the participatory management of protected areas in developing countries. Specifically I deal with participatory conservation projects, which aim to combine nature conservation and local economic development. I address the issue of the origin of the community-based institution that manages the commons in these kind of projects, emphasizing the difference between community organizations which have been created by project designers and those who emerge from the community itself. The lack of such a distinction does not allow to fully understand the outcomes of these projects.
Using an agent-based model I compare the impact of different kinds of institutions on the state of a forest and on the monetary profits of a community of loggers. The initial scenario is based on the agent-based model developed in Bravo (2011). I simulate scenarios corresponding to the following situations: open access situation, an endogenous institution in charge of the forest, an exogenous institution representing participatory conservation project promoters, and circumstances where violation of the endogenous and of the exogenous rule and punishment are in place. I investigate about which institutional setting produces better outcomes in term of forest state and of profits for the local community.