Project on community forest-thesis

1.1 Background

Nepal is one of the richest countries in biodiversity where forest is the most important natural resources. Forest resources play a major role in the development of human society so it is closely interrelated to the human beings. Hence, the importance of the forest resource has been increasing day by day for all (Bhattia, 1199). It plays a vital role in the rural areas of developing countries. It is not only foresting to the agriculture system but also one of the resource of basic need of rural people (Bajracharya, 1987). Forests and village commons have been important sources of supplementary livelihoods and basic necessities for rural households in many parts of the world.  Nepal is predominantly an agricultural country, and the majority of the people depend upon agriculture for their livelihood. The rural farmers depend upon forests for their daily needs which include fuel wood, fodder, leaf litter for compost and fertilizer and timber for construction. Community forest social forestry and rural development forestry are more or less equivalent and reflect “Abraham Lincoln’s view of democracy. Of the people , by the people and for the people (saree, 2012).

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Management:

The forest management strategy of Nepal is based on forest dependent people’s participation, which was introduced in the late 1970s to encourage active participation of local people in the forest management as a means to improve livelihoods which is known as community forestry (CF) (Dhurba bijaya, 2012 ). Community forest refers to the situation where forest are controlled and managed as common property by group of people (called forest user groups, FUG) who agree to use them to support their farms and households. The promotion of community and private forest has the highest priority in HMGN’s forestry sectors policy.

According to the data base of community and private forestry division (CPFD) of department of forest (DOF) the government has already handed over 5,49,203 ha of forest to 7622 FUGs till July 1999 which give the benefit to 8,46,952 households. This is about the 15percent of the total potential area of the common forest. Good governance, livelihood promotion and sustainable forest management are the second generation challenges faced by community forestry users groups today in Nepalese community forestry (Kanel and Niraula, 2004).  Therefore, there is a need to include them in decision making and management process in order to make efficient effective and sustainable utilization of forest resources. It also requires the Users to prepare the constitutions and operational plan; the government may provide its technical support to this Users Committee and require active people’s participation on both processes. Since, community forestry program is people oriented program and its success depends on the active people’s participation, there is a need for more research both on technical and social aspects. The technical aspects include management operation, protection rules, conservation strategies whereas social aspects include Forest User Group and their sociocultural norms, interest and religious need, both aspects should be considered equally because they impact each other and consequently reflect the success of community forestry.

Over the past 20 year PMF has been promoted around the globe to form a central feature of forest management in developing country. currently natural forest area under the world’s total natural forest ( Ribot et al 2010) with almost 21 sub-saharan African countries having adopted these participatory approaches of forest management ( Ribot et al 2010).The main feature characterizing PFM is the transfer of management authority from the central government to the local communities who depends on such forest for their livelihood with an intention of empowering local in decision making. This includes the application of their own knowledge in enhancing sustainable forest exploitation or conservation and improving their livelihood and benefit sharing (Hobley 1996).Community forest refers to the situation where forest are controlled and managed as common property by group of people (called forest user groups, FUG) who agree to use them to support their farms and households. The promotion of community and private forest has the highest priority in HMGN’s forestry sectors policy. According to the data base of community and private forestry division (CPFD) of department of forest (DOF) the government has already handed over 5,49,203 ha of forest to 7622 FUGs till July 1999 which give the benefit to 8,46,952 households. This is about the 15percent of the total potential area of the common forest.

Change in Attitude:

As community forest was lunched two decades ago to make the people participation of various forest activities. They no doubt, got direct and indirect benefits from the forest. There may have adequate supply of forest product viz: firewood, fodder, leaf litter etc. after the formation of the community forest similarly, there may have risen in employment opportunities and time saved after the formation of community forest. This would, certainly change of lifestyle of the local people. It is assumed that the forest have not been addressed on a study as much as it has to be. In this regards, it is at present, true worthy to examine the socio economic impact of community forest to uplift their living standard. Community Forestry Program is one of the successful programs of Nepal in the context of people’s participation. Encouraging the participation of women are also very important and the peoples with minor ethnicity, peoples of low income group, low caste people, etc. are the most important forest users. Therefore, there is a need to include them in decision making and management process in order to make efficient effective and sustainable utilization of forest resources. It also requires the Users to prepare the constitutions and operational plan; the government may provide its technical support to this Users Committee and require active people’s participation on both processes. Since, community forestry program is people oriented program and its success depends on the active people’s participation, there is a need for more research both on technical and social aspects. Participation of women, poor and Dalit in community forestry activities, the transparency of fund and its mobilization for them are the key indicators to see the status of good governance. The technical aspects include management operation, protection rules, conservation strategies whereas social aspects include Forest User Group and their sociocultural norms, interest and religious need, both aspects should be considered equally because they impact each other and consequently reflect the success of community forestry.

In this regard, study of people’s participation in Satashidham Community forestry of Shivasatakshi 8, Jhapa and Maai 8, Ilam  is very important which allow evaluating the success rate of people’s participation program in community forestry that considers the institutional decision-making processes, benefits of community forestry, affecting factors of participation and changed attitude, skill and knowledge of people (users) based on Satashidham Community Forestry of Shivasatakshi 8, Jhapa and Maai 8, Ilam has been studied.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Despite many successes in community forestry, there are some challenges ahead in the path of community forestry management and development. Forest user group with the help of District Forest Office or other line agency may carry out participation of people in different activities of management. But general people involve only in the implementations and they may misrepresent the program thus, may not give expected result.

One of the problems of community forest is people living near to the forest are not ready to involve outsiders in forest management activities. Also the forest is in different municipalities of two district, so the problem is more severe which the community forest is facing .One of the problematic issues emerges mostly in the presence of political backing in community. Where forest user committee member may not be accepted by small portion of users being not from political party they support. Thus, they may want to prove the failure of the forest user committee. Behaviors of such group make destruction of forest due to reject of rule of operational plan, avoidance of active participation. To come to the solution from these problems, a new committee can be made incorporating leader of those groups (Who are opposition to committee member) after then forest user group can function well (Shrestha, 1994). Still, there are some problems that some Community Forest might be over utilized and the local elite people may try to capture the benefits. Rural elite of Nepal generally owns more land, big houses and has larger family and keeps larger herds of animals. Eventually the rural rich use forest products in larger quantities and consequently benefit from the Community Forest may go in their favor. Till now, the issue of equity in community forestry has received little attention (Malla and Fisher, 1988).

 

Manoj

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