This study looked at issues confronting forest management and sustainability and focused on the governance of the community forest user group (CFUG) initiative in Nepal.
It surveyed the historical impacts of unsustainable logging in Nepal, documented particularly in a World Bank Report, which both investigated and explored avenues for improving the forest situation, including community forestry. Nepal has undergone changes in its forestry management, from feudalism to state-based forestry and then to decentralized forestry.
It also looked at the legislative, regulatory, and governance frameworks underpinning what is a unique system of community-driven forest management, which arguably has led to sustainable forest management (SFM). This SFM has engendered a market for sustainably-derived timber and labelling systems for ‘good’ wood.
The study also analysed stakeholder attitudes towards the current forest governance situation in Nepal. Furthermore, it provided a small case study on how such standards might be applied in the local community context of protecting Nepal’s Red Panda while simultaneously delivering sustainable forest management and community development.
Perceptions of community forest governance differ between marginalised and non-marginalised people, with the former having significantly lower ratings due to their voices and opinions not being taken into account by those in power on the executive committee or because some powerful people on the committee are making decisions for them.
The issues of inequitable benefit sharing, the dominance of affluent groups, a dearth of alternative livelihood options, and insufficient support for community enterprises are evidence of the failings of existing forest management systems, necessitating a re-evaluation of sustainable forest management.
Building the capacity of marginalised groups by increasing their skills and raising awareness about sustainable forest management could have tangible impacts on the ground, including the protection and conservation of Nepal’s unique flora and fauna into an uncertain and difficult future.
Cadman, T., Maraseni, T., Koju, U. A., Shrestha, A., & Karki, S. (2023). Forest Governance in Nepal Concerning Sustainable Community Forest Management and Red Panda Conservation. Land, 12(2), 493. https://www.mdpi.com/2073-445X/12/2/493