ABSTRACT

This chapter examines the pioneering experience of community forestry (CF) implementation in the ecologically and socially diverse middle hills of Nepal. A range of traditional forms of customary local forest management historically existed in the hills, although, since the 1950s, the modernizing state had attempted to replace these with ‘scientific’ forest management. In response to the resultant problems of de facto open access, deforestation and adverse impacts on local people’s livelihoods, the 1989 Master Plan for the Forestry Sector and the 1993 Forest Act (facilitated by the resumption of democracy in 1990 and donor support), promoted community forestry. This chapter considers the field experience of community forestry by looking at four diverse districts across Nepal – Dhankuta, Kavreplanchok, Kaski and Dadeldhura – and focuses on 14 community forest user groups (or CFUGs). Data was collected through extensive field study over the three years of 2003 to 2005.