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Title: Forest tenure regimes and livelihood security-a case study from the Bagmati zone, central region of Nepal
Authors: Rasaily, Rabina G.
Keywords: Forest tenure regime
Livelihood security
Forest user groups
Issue Date: 25-Feb-2018
Abstract: Forest land tenure patterns have rapidly changed in Nepal in the past. The historically dominant forest land tenures are becoming extinct and new tenures are occurring. The type and extent of forest land tenure reform vary from country to country, although an objective common to each tenure reform is to share the ownership and management rights and involve multiple stakeholders, along with the state, in the utilization and management of forest resources. Similarly, reformed tenure in forestry is focusing more on addressing the people’s livelihood needs on the one hand and considering the global need for biodiversity conservation and environmental protection on the other. Tenure reform processes begun during late 1970s, and institutionalized during early 1990s has promoted decentralized and participatory processes in forest management. The different tenure arrangements associated with forest land and forests, and their dynamic nature, are widely accepted to have profound impacts on forest user's behavior and social welfare. Therefore, this case study examines the distribution pattern, types and number of forest tenure regime and implications of forest tenure regime on the condition of forest. Further, it explores the effects of forest tenure regime on the social, cultural and economic condition of the different wealth class households. This study was conducted in eight case studies districts of Bagmati Zone, Central Region of Nepal. The qualitative and quantitative analyses are based on primary data collected through household survey using stratified random sampling of 266 respondents from three different classes of households after well-being ranking, comprising 133 males and 133 females. Focus group discussions were organized to explore the information on the livelihood characteristics of the forest dependent communities under different forest tenure regimes. Office records, informal interviews and direct observation were the other sources of information for secondary data collection. Data were analyzed using MS Excel and SPSS software. ANOVA and LSD were used to test the significant differences between rich, medium and poor households on land holdings, livestock holdings, total household income, share of income from private and community forests to the total household income of the sampled households. Descriptive statistics were employed to quantify the mean and ranges of household size, education level, and total income from various source, occupation and age of the respondents. The forests in the study area are divided into two ownership categories: national and private forest. National forests are further categorized into: government-managed forest; community forests; leasehold forests; religious forests and protected forests. The study shows that the ninety-nine percent respondents observed and perceived significant increase in the density and size of trees in the forest after handing over to the community. The result also shows that the share of income from the community forest and private forest to the total household income of poor households is higher as compared to the rich and medium wealth class households. The participation of different social groups in the forest user groups (FUGs) meetings that make rules governing the development, maintenance and use of the forest, revealed that the participation is not uniform for different types of forest management activities. The representation of poor user households and marginalized groups in the forest user group's committee decision making process is found to be worse when compared to the better off households and high caste groups. Increasing numbers of community-based management regimes have developed innovative means of tenure arrangements to contribute positively to livelihoods of different wealth class households than the government-managed forest and protected forest management regimes. The comparison of different forest management regimes in the study area is also presented. Based on the study it is argued that secure tenure is important for the conservation of forest resources and for the forest dependent people’s livelihood security. Which forest tenure regime is suitable at a particular time and place or location is more of a contextual matter, and thus, depending upon people’s needs, participation, tenurial modalities need to be determined. Lastly, the study provides some recommendations to enhance the different forests tenure regimes role/contribution towards obtaining and improving equitable benefit sharing’s and sustainable livelihood security within forest dependent user households. In the existing forest user groups, focus should be on improving representation of poor wealth households and marginalized groups in forest user group executive committees. Authority to approve leasehold certificates should be devolved from Regional Director of Forest to District Forest Office, as it is already the case of community forests.
Appears in Collections:300 Social sciences

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