Community Forestry: Sustainability and Equity Issues

Authored by: Bill Buffum

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:


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Governments around the world are increasingly handing over the authority for the management of national forests to the local communities. By 2002, governments had given communities legal rights to manage 380 million hectares of forest, most of which had been transferred during the previous 15 years. This approach has been particularly widespread in South Asia, where Nepal and India have the largest and oldest programs. More than 13,000 community forest user groups in Nepal are managing 25% of the national forests, while in India 53,000 forest protection committees are managing 18% of national forests. The experience of Nepal and India in the 1980s and 1990s has encouraged the development of community forestry programs in many other countries. Overall, community forestry programs have been highly successful at providing a wide range of economic and social benefits to the participating user groups. However, concerns have been raised about the ability of user groups to manage their community forests (CF) on a sustainable basis and share products in an equitable manner. This entry reviews the literature related to the sustainability and equity of forest management in CF.

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