The flow and distribution of community forestry benefits : a case study from Pyuthan District, Nepal
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Forestry Science
The study was conducted to evaluate the distribution of benefits from Community Forestry (CF) to three economic and two social strata of four community forest user groups in Pyuthan District, Nepal. The benefits of CF were compared in terms of forests products' availability, income and employment generation, and contribution to farming system among the socioeconomic strata of the population. The study compares users' perceptions of availability and reported consumption of forest products now and before CF. The participation and perception of users in decision-making and benefit-sharing system has been assessed in respect to economic and social status of the respondents.
Economic stratification of user households into poor, medium and rich was based upon participatory wealth ranking. Social stratification was based on castes; the lower or untouchable castes (so-called) were categorized as a disadvantaged group (DAG) and others as a non-disadvantaged group (NDAG). Both formal and informal research methods (face-to-face questionnaire survey, focus group discussions, observation and committee meetings supported by PRA tools like mapping, ranking and discussions) were applied for information collection. Both perceptions of the majority of the respondents and the data reported by the informants showed the greater scarcity of forest products after CF. Greater scarcity was observed for poor and DAG respondents than for richer and NDAG respondents. Following the scarcity of forest products, the poor and DAG lost more livestock and nutrients to their farmlands. The income and employment opportunities were found very low in comparison to the costs for forest management, forest products, and the opportunity costs of participating in meetings and assemblies.
The research concluded that the present practice of CF in the research area is less favorable to poor and DAG than wealthier and NDAG households. In spite of aims to provide forest products in a sustainable and equitable basis, poor and DAG households lost more from the switch to CF. Thus, the present practice of CF is widening the gap between poor and wealthier and DAG and NDAG households, rather than contributing to poverty alleviation as intended by policy.
Key words: community forestry, equity, Nepal, poor, disadvantaged group, common property resources.