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Beyond rhetorical success: Advancing the potential for the community forestry programme in Nepal to address equity concerns

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 12:08 PM
Contributors: Upreti, B

SUMMARY: Social learning is emphasized as a means of developing methods of translating community-based forest management policies into successful and fair practice. Social learning is defined as an approach that brings people together to assess past actions and events in order to modify their behavior in order to meet mutually agreeable goals. Community stakeholders interact within a forum that provides opportunity for marginalized groups to make important input. This chapter highlights one case study of social learning experiences. During the 1900's, the community forests experienced encroachment by powerful landlords and politicians. The community united in response to threats on their survival, since they were dependent on the forests for their survival. The parties resolved their issues through informal negotiation, thereby beginning a unique self-facilitation process. As of the 1990's, these platforms are still used to facilitate communication by all societal groups. By this example, it can be seen that policies can be translated into practices that are relevant and useful to individual communities by teaching those groups how to plan ahead by collectively analyzing and learning from their mistakes and conflicts. In Nepal, multiple factions of communities have gained voice in management decision-making, which has increased the access of these groups to forests. Communities have an increased sense of ownership of their forests, which boosts grassroots decision-making, sustainable use, accountability, and overall effort given to conservation and sustainable use. However, some problems persist that inhibit the success of community forestry initiatives. In some areas, social class and equity disparities continue to cause the marginalization of some groups during the planning and policymaking. This leads to future conflicts when these groups have to struggle to subside. Facilitated social learning programs provide opportunity to rectify the weaknesses of community forestry in Nepal. Problems such as marginalization can be addressed early in planning and in a setting where these groups. This prevents future conflicts and promotes the success of community forests.

Author(s): Upreti, B

Publication Date: 2001

Location: Nepal

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