Vishakha Maskey, Tesfa G. Gebremedhin and Timothy J. Dalton1 RESEARCH PAPER 2003-8
Selected paper for presentation at the Northeastern Agricultural Resource Economics Association, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, June 8-10, 2003
Key Words: Community forestry, Common property, User group, Caste system, Socio economic status, Participation. Abstract: The main objective of the study is to determine which socio-economic factors affect levels of individual participation in the “Ludi-damgade” community forest. The empirical evidence for participation as a function of social status is obtained by using an ordered probit model. The model also estimates the marginal effects of socio-economic factors on different levels of participation suggesting how per unit change in such socioeconomic characters affects the level of participation. Results from the two-stage least squares model also verify that participation in forest management determines the level of benefits received from the community forest. The study suggests that participation in common property resource management is based on the socio-economic profile of an individual and the level of participation is determined by the benefits obtained from the forest. The empirical results are expected to aid policy makers in empowering people of lower socio-economic status to understand the importance of community forest management in order to have equal distribution of benefits accrued by community forest.
Graduate Research Assistant, West Virginia University; Professor of Agricultural Economics, West Virginia University; and Assistant Professor, University of Maine
A Survey Analysis of Participation in a Community Forest Management in Nepal Introduction In rural Nepal, forests play a vital role in the daily life of almost all-rural based people. There is a heavy dependence on forests for the basic household needs such as fodder, fuel wood and construction timber. Due to heavy dependency on forests for various purposes, forests have been under the threat of depletion throughout the country. Community forestry has become the most important program to conserve, manage and utilize forest resources in Nepal. Community forestry management was followed by the Master Plan for the Forestry Sector (MPFS) in 1989, which was followed by ‘The Forest Act’ in 1993 and ‘Forest Rules’ in 1995 (Ojha and Bhattari, 2000). By early 1996, there were 3000 user groups, managing 200,000 hectares of forestland (Department of Forests, 1996). The community forestry program was implemented in response to the failure of the government to manage forests after nationalization in 1957 and the increased recognition of people’s right and capabilities to manage their forests. In 1970, the focus of community forestry was reforestation of degraded lands, but recently the emphasis is on participatory management and rural development (Baral, 1993). Participatory approaches to forestry often aim at devolving decision-making rights and benefits in reference to forests to the rural populations, along with responsibilities for forest management. Devolution is based upon prediction of the greater efficiency of local resource management. This efficiency stems from the local indigenous knowledge, lower transaction costs due to the proximity to the forest, and better decision making due to the internalization of social and ecological costs. Devolving control of the
forest benefits to local user groups mobilizes local labor into forest management, which secures the benefit from forest products to the user groups (Ribot, 1995). The community forest, a common property, is managed by the community. Participation in management, extraction and decision-making within the user group is a key to collective action. However, participation is dependent upon many socio-economic factors as Nepal’s social structure is still based on a...