Community Forestry

>> Friday, August 20, 2010

Definitions of Community Forestry
The concept of community forestry emerged in response of partly the failure of the forest industry development model to lead socio-economic development and partly to the increasing rate of deforestation and forestland degradation in the third world.

A community forest in Nepal as defined by forest act, 1993, is a national forest handed over to a users group under specified rules and regulations for its developments, conservation and utilization for collective benefits. Community forestry is, thus the management, control and utilization of accessible forest resources by the local people.

Community forestry is one of the disciplines of social forestry. This includes agro-forestry, plantation on private land and community ownership and management of forest resource. Community forestry is also the stepping-stone to reach for the goal of privatization of this important natural resource. Because, this community forestry has an intimate relationship with the local people, it is socio-culturally acceptable.

Community forestry has been defined as any situation, which intimately involves local people in
a forestry activity.

Community forestry is defined as forestry by the people, of the people and for the people. The people are qualified to mean the involvement of the people rather than the ownership. It is something like rehabilitation of forests for rehabilitation of people through active involvement and participation of the community, the government acting as a catalyst and also a partner. Community forestry activities also include planting in village waste lands, farmer’s fields, homesteads, field boundaries, road sides, railway lines, canal banks etc.

It is defined as “it involves the raising of trees on public or community land rather than on privately owned lands as in the case of farm forestry.” The aim is to provide direct benefits to the community as a whole.

Principles of Community Forestry

Many people in the world are depending on the forest products for their livelihood, based on the decision of labor. For examples timber, fuel wood, fodder and non timber are main products that are being used by the people.
Growing population of human, cattle and rural poverty are the major reasons for the forest destruction. Human is the main destroying agent for the forest for the followings-
1. Exploitation of forest resources for timber, fuel wood, fodder etc. which destroy plant community and their micro habitat.
2. Technology development (roads, dams, air fields, tunnels, industries etc).
3. Over grazing and shifting cultivation (over population of animals and men which caused shortage of food).
4. Uncontrolled fair makes certain species disappeared form new ecosystem and animal also may die.
5. Mass tourism and recreation activities.
Role of Forest in human civilization

It is believed that man appeared on the scene sometimes in the early middle period of the geological Pleistocene age in the form of ape-man. At that time, they used to uproot small trees or tear off small branches by physical strength without any means of cutting. It is believed that Aryans migrated to India between 2000- 10000 B.C. approximately.

Characteristics of Community Forestry
The following are some characters of Community forests-
1. All forest users participate in certain, protection, management and utilization of forest resources; major decision taken with consensus of the users in assembly relaying on indigenous rather than outsider’s knowledge.
2. Basic requirements for the users are met from the forest and also benefits are shared among the users in an equitable way.
 Bio-physical characters- Generally, the following bio-physical characters are considered for handing over forest as community forest-
 Location, size and tenure of the forest.
 Type and composition of the forest.
 Potentiality for meeting the needs of the users from the forests.
 Technical requirements for the forests.
 Condition of the forest.
 Socio-economic and political characters- Socio-economic and political characters are:

 Profile of the community indicating ethnic composition, location of the villages and its name with village leaders.
 Recognizes existing local arrangements for utilizing and managing community assets.
 Make selection or election for executing the rules and regulations developed by the user’s assembly.

 Plantation- plantation characters are

 Considered the location and site for community plantation.
 Condition of the plantation site whether it regenerate itself or not.
 Recognize technical requirements.

 Sustainability Factors-
Sustainability means leaving something to use for future generation. Future generation has also right to use on these resources. We need to understand that we are borrowing these resources for a short period of time. Therefore, we have to use it wisely so that part of is left for future use.
Sustainability= Production +Conservation.

Requisites for success of community

Community forestry is practiced in widely different settings in the region. An analysis of these situations suggests a number of conditions necessary for its successful implementation and a number of constraints. Forestry systems for rural communities will seldom succeed unless the people concerns are persuaded of their usefulness. It must be apparent to people that the benefits to be obtained are relevant to them and are sufficient to justify their participation (Rao, 1984).
The important requisites for the success of community forestry include-
a) Political commitment.
b) Assessment of rural needs.
c) Appropriate technical solutions.
d) A system of incentives.
e) Suitable rural institutions.
f) Supportive organization.
g) An extension network.
h) Research support.

Community Forestry is very important activity for the people of any country in the world. By these activities, people can improve their socio-economic condition. It can solve the unemployment problems within few years. So, we should try to establish community forestry in our country very quickly.


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