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Community Forestry

            Saru Raut

Dibyabhumi Multiple College Kupondole lalitpur

Bachelor in Social Work(BSW ) 2nd year




Community Forestry (CF) is a process increasing the involvement of a reward for local people, of seeking balance between outside and interest and increasing local responsibility for the management of forest resources. Community forestry is a strategy for sustainable forest management through the participation of rural people, by making the objectives of rural people central in forest management and ensuring that rural people obtain reasonable benefits from forest management. In essence, the concept of community forestry is founded on the principle that local communities can and will manage resources in their long term interests, and that these long term interests equate to sustainability. Community forestry complements and enhances other forest management strategies and thereby contributing to sustainable forest management.

According to Rao (1991), “The political dimension of community forestry makes it a venue for people’s struggle against domination and exploitation of the community’s resources by outsiders. Equity and social justice are part of this struggle.”


The objectives of Community Forestry are as follows:

  • To achieve sustainable management of forest resources.
  • To increase bio-diversity.
  • To promote income generation and community development activities.
  • To meet the people’s basic needs for forest products on a sustained basis.
  • To conserve ecosystem and genetic resource.

The objectives of the study are as follows:

  • To study about the national and international scenario of community forestry.
  • To know about the area occupied by community forests in different regions of Nepal.

 International Context

Community Forestry can be found in different countries like: Bhutan, China, India, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines etc.


Community forestry in Bhutan was introduced in its current form relatively recently, in 2000. There are currently 36 approved community forests covering 2,914 ha, with 1,664 households managing designated CF areas. About 72% of Bhutan is covered with forests. The total forest area is 2,904,522 ha, of which 26% is classified as protected area, 9% is biological corridors, 8% is designated as forest management units, and the remaining 57% is reserved forest. The long-term goal of the forestry sector is to keep 60% of the country area under forest cover. The legal basis for community oriented forest management system is vested with the nature Conservation Act 1995 of Bhutan that seeks replanting bare individual lands and village common lands with involvement of local user groups under social forestry programme although the Royal government of Bhutan has been supporting social forestry since 1979. The social forestry program has been implemented on plantations with one natural forest site in Yakpugang(East Bhutan)



Community forestry in Cambodia begins in early 1990s at few sites in Takeo and Kampong Chhang. The programmed gathered momentum with expansion into 83,000 hector of forest at 228 sites, covering about 0.7% of Cambodia’s total forest area and involving 404 villages and 415000 people (3.6% of Cambodia’s population) by the end of 2002. Kampong Phluk village is an example of successful community forestry in Cambodia. The village control and manages over 15,906 hector of mangrove forest. Cambodia’s community forestry areas, involve 60,000 households from 450 villages.


About 60% of forestland is under ownership of communities in China. However the forestland belongs to the government and the people have only user’s rights, township, administrative villages and village.household groups are under community forest managein Yunnan Sinchuan and ten southern proviences. There are indigeneous management systems in many ethnic minority areas. The tirbal people known as smallar minorities have five natinal level autonomous bodies to look after their welfare. People are invilved in large scale plantations for which they are compensated with rations, energy saving devices and other income generating activities for few years. Special poverty alleviation projects are implemented under the Global Environment facility and United Nations Development Programme. People from rural areas are alsoengaging in enterprises under joint venture with private companies to promate ecotourism.


National Context

The Community Forestry program in Nepal officially started in late 1970s. Community Forestry program (CFP) was formally launched in Nepal in 1978 with the enactment of the Panchayat Forest Rules and the Panchayat Protected Forest Rules. Since 1970s a movement has been evolved to involve local communities in the management and utilization of forests. The policy of the government was originally intended to meet the basic forest products required by the communities, through the active participation of communities in forest development and management. Nepal’s community forestry has become an example of progressive legislation and policies in the decentralization of forest management. It has attracted inter-national attention. About 1.45 million households or 35 percent of the population of Nepal is involved in community forestry management program. Community Forestry program has been recognized as one of the most successful program in Nepal making it a standing example in the Asian region. It has now become an integral part for managing natural resources through the active involvement of local people. Because of its benefits to the local communities, especially in hills and mountains, large number of local people as community forests making almost over 33% percent of the country’s population a member of the Community Forest User Groups(CUFUGs). CFUG is an institution formed in community and is responsible in decision making and generating fund for various community development activities. Community forest helps to increase in bio diversity and helps to resumed greenery. It also plays vital role in the empowerment of women, poor and the disadvantages people. Community forest also promotes income generation and community development activities as well as restored degraded forest land.

More than 7,000 forestry staffs and many NGOS support the preparation of forest operational plans and constitutions which are implemented by the local forest users. Forest user groups (FUGs) operate community forestry activities related to protection, production and distribution of forest products. Despite many positive outcomes, however, community forestry in Nepal has faced mounting challenges, limitations and shortcomings, particularly in implementation. The challenge for all societies is to create a system of governance that promotes , supports and sustains human development especially for the poorest and most marginal groups. The goal of governance initiatives in community forestry should be to develop capacities that are needed to realize development that gives priority to the poor and women, sustains the environment and creates needed opportunities for local employment.

Regions FUGs Area (ha) Households
Mid-hills 9,353 696,044 976,715
High mountains 2,456 189,843 248,619
Terai 916 124,853 196,967
Total 12,725 1,010,740 1,422,301

Source: Department of forest (2005)

It was found that community forestry plays a significant role in maintaining equality as women, poor and disadvantaged groups are given equal opportunity to make decision. Community forestry is found in both national and international context. It is mostly found in mid-hills of Nepal which covers 696,044 hector areas, it has 9353 Forest Users Groups and 976,715 houses are involved in it. In high mountains there are 2456 Forest User Groups (FUG), it covers 189,843 hector areas and 248,619 houses are involved in it. It was found that 124,853 hector areas is occupied by community forestry in Terai region, there are only 916 Forest User Groups and 196,967 households are involved in it.(Department of forest)


Through different research it was found that community forestry is increasing in different countries to provide opportunities for poor people, backward groups, women etc. It was found that more number of community forests are in mid-hills and less in Terai region of Nepal. It promotes income generation and community development activities. It was also found that community forests meet the peoples basic needs for the forest products. Community forest conserves ecosystem and genetis resources.


Forest policies are changing rapidly to meet the challenges of livelihood, global warming, water shortage, land and environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and stagnated agricultural biodiversity loss and agricultural productivity. Community forestry movement successful with varying degree of success depending on site specific situation and largely due to felt need and recognition for synergetic action and local informed leadership. Today, prime agenda of developmental forestry is to conserve the forests, enhance forest based income of people and diversify the rural livelihood. It play a vital role to attained national goal of poverty alleviation and global goal of sustainable development. It also helps to produce collective benefits to the local communities of forest users from the development, conservation and use of forests.









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