Community Forestry in Nepal: Decentralized Forest Governance
Nepal’s community forestry has become an example of progressive legislation and policies in the decentralization of forest management. It has attracted international attention because in Nepal decentralization is linked with emerging issues – sustainable forest management, forest governance, policy advocacy, equity, gender, poverty and the role of civil society in community forestry. In particular, the role of the forest user group network in legal advocacy, capacity-building and the establishment of democratic governance on a wider scale shows the unique strength of the community forestry approach in Nepal. Since the enactment of the Forest Act in 1993, the government of Nepal has gradually been handing over parcels of national forest, particularly in the mid-hills, to local communities based on a forest management plan agreed between the District Forest Oﬃce and local forest user groups. As of December 2005, some 1,185,565ha of forest had been handed over to 14,227 forest user groups for them to protect, manage and utilize (Department of Forests, 2005).