Community Forestry in Nepal

Rachitha Silva

The people of Nepal are heavily reliant on subsistence agriculture and Forests are an integral part of the agriculture and lives of them. The concept of community forestry is primarily focused on encouraging and contributing to support rural livelihoods in terms of fuel timber for housing, fuel wood, and fodder for stock and leaf litter for composting among many other things.

The forest regulations were revised with community forestry concepts and role of the Govt. has changed from project implementer to promoter and facilitator, while the Forest User Groups (FUG) to be the new implementer of projects. So far, about 1million ha of forest (18% of total forest cover) are being managed by 13, 238 FUGs involving about 1.5 million house holds, which includes about 28% of the total population by year 2004.

The FUG managed Forests are growing and improving value of the resources. Forestry Development activities are carried out voluntarily by the users. The CF program brought a big contribution, not only in environment conservation, meeting basic needs and economic development. CF has contributed mainly to the improvement of forest condition and people’s livelihoods in three ways; Capital formation in rural communities, Policy and governance reform of various organizations and agencies, Contribution in the process of community empowerment and social change.

There are many unresolved issues and challenges in all areas of capital as well as governance. The SWOT analysis provides more in-depth details of Community forestry programs in Nepal.

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