The history and context of community forestry in Nepal

Robert Fisher, Richard Thwaites, Mohan Poudel

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter presents a history of the development of community forestry in Nepal since the 1970s. It describes the early experiments with Panchayat Forests and Panchayat Protected Forests, which were essentially seen as ways to involve communities in protecting forests when the Department of Forests was incapable of effectively managing them on a national scale, and then traces the emergence of an additional focus on rural livelihoods in the 1980s. It shows how a shift from community forestry through panchayats (local administrative units) towards smaller groups of natural users with the 1990 revolution and subsequent legislation provided a more viable sociological basis for community forestry. The history of community forestry has always been about differing objectives and competition for control of forests. Thus, a key theme of the chapter is the way that the evolution of community forestry reflects tensions between increasing rights to and control of forests by communities and the reluctance of some elements in the forest bureaucracy to relinquish control. A related theme is the tension between the conservation objectives and the livelihood and economic priorities of communities. In parallel with these themes of development of community forestry runs the history of political change and mass social movements in Nepal, which has also influenced the development of community forestry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunity forestry in Nepal
Subtitle of host publicationAdapting to a changing world
EditorsRichard Thwaites, Robert Fisher, Mohan Poudel
Place of PublicationOxon, UK
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315445168
ISBN (Print)9781138214620
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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