Two Decades of Community Forestry in Nepal: What have we learned?

Jane Carter and Bharat Pokharel of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation provide insights into the development and findings of their new publication on lessons-learned from community forestry in Nepal over the past two decades.

In July 2011, the Nepal Swiss Community Forestry Project (NSCFP) came to an end after 20 years in originally two and eventually four districts of Nepal’s middle hills. All those concerned with the project felt that it was important to draw out the lessons learned from this long experience. They included members of community forest user groups, the Nepal Forest Department, a variety of service providers, project staff (both past and present at the time), the implementing agency Întercooperation, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Representatives of these various stakeholders participated in a “capitalization” process that began in early 2010, and took shape during a number of sharing events, focusing on self-reflection and the identification of lessons learned.

Nine topics came to the fore during stakeholder discussions: Implementation modality/fund management; human resource and institutional development; pro-poor livelihoods; social inclusion: caste, ethnicity and gender; good governance; conflict sensitive project management; sustainable tree and forest management; forest based enterprises; and potential forest policy contributions.

These form the nine main chapters of the publication. For each topic, stakeholder views on successes and the failures were recorded – both ones on which there was general agreement, and ones on which opinions differed. Their inputs were further complemented by project-commissioned studies and reports on specific issues.

The experience of NSCFP clearly demonstrates that community forestry can have a significant positive impact on the livelihoods of rural people, particularly in ensuring a sustainable supply of forest products, and in increasing the voice of women and other disadvantaged groups in the good governance of forest resources. Whilst the project cannot claim to be representative of community forestry development in Nepal overall, NSCFP always sought to be innovative in its operations and pro-poor in its actions. We thus believe that this document is of wide relevance, and we hope that it will interest all those seeking insights into practical aspects of community forestry.

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2 Comments

  1. Nepal’s community forestry program is one of the most successful initiatives around the world in the sense of common property resources management strategies.DANAR was founded based on promotion of best practices in community forestry, through the positive results achieved through the LFP Programme in Parbat district (Please see website: danarnepal.org.np.). When the barren land of one community forest was given to the poor Dalit household in Dhaireni Sultamare community forest of Pakuwa VDC, Parbat District the poor and Dalit households were given goat-raising as livestock as community forest land allocation. After two years it provided a positive result when the same concept was applied to the Jhauri community forest in Khurkot VDC of the same district… Then, this type of program (community barren land allocation for Dalit and poor household) was applied in most CFUGs of Parbat district to promote poverty reduction. These groups were formed as a network in the district and the same network is now recognized as the Dalit Alliance for Natural Resources (DANAR) Nepal. So DANAR grew out of this type of community-based forest management (CBFM) skills/ knowledge within Dalit network.

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    • yes, of course.Now DANAR has widespread in 40 district of Nepal.Ramechap,Dolakha and Okhaldhunga is the districts we are actively working. Dalit in some community forest have got some good example that how Dalit can get improved in governance and livlihood improved. Janga Bahadur Sarki is one of the Example from Suli Thunka community forestr,secretary.He gets more than 300 NRS for subsistance allowance when he should waste his time for community program.This is a good concept from NSCFP an idea of Dr. Bharat Pokharel.We expect this type of contribution from donors and community forest.

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