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Quantifying the Benefits of Community Forestry in Nepal: Towards Development of a Participatory Methodology of Economic Valuation

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Kanel, Keshav; Varughese, George
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, IN
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/802
Sector: Forestry
Social Organization
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
community forestry--economics
community forestry--case studies
cost benefit analysis
forest products
inequality
CBRM
Workshop
Abstract: "Research on economic analysis of community forestry is rudimentary. Most of the research conducted so far, on community forestry or social forestry, has focused more on the aggregate level rather than on the different stakeholders who comprise a user group or protection committee who are, ultimately responsible for forest management and protection. "This paper is based on research on community forestry in eastern Nepal, focused on the economic costs and benefits of community forestry at a disaggregated level. In the context of Nepal, community forests are managed by groups of rural households organized into User Groups. The Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) make day to day decisions on how forests are to be protected, managed and utilized for long-term benefit. In this research, we have attempted to analyse the costs and benefits of community forest management to different subgroups of CFUGs based on wealth ranking. We divide the CFUGs into three subgroups based on private land ownership and the number of months for which food production from their private land is sufficient for their livelihood. Then, we gathered data on the amount of forest products (fuelwood, fodder, poles, timber etc.) each subgroup collects from the forest(s). The costs are divided in to self-labour, cash and reciprocal labor. The products and inputs used in collection, protection and other management is valued through barter games and other similar approaches. "The reseach was mainly designed to develop a methodology of economic analysis of community forestry at a disaggregated level. However, some preliminary conclusions can be drawn from the four CFUGs and their community forests. One of the conclusions is that costs and benefits of community forests differs substantially based on the type of forests and the economic status of the users. Moreover, the returns to labour also differ for different subgroups and different CFUGs. It appears that the poor do not get as much benefit from community forests as the rich. This poses a problem of fundamental policy importance to countries such as Nepal who use community-based resource management to help change the lives of the poor for the better and to help reduce disparities between the rich and the poor."

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