Promoting social justice and conserving montane forest environments: a case study of Nepal's community forestry programme
This paper analyses participatory forest policy and the ways it has influenced the relationships between people as it relates to the forest resource management. This case study was conducted in the middle hills of Nepal, and information was collected through direct observation, individual interviews, group discussion and secondary information analysis. It substantiates a few examples of how the community forestry programme can be used as a means to promote the participation of the women, the poor and dalit (untouchables) in forest resource management, as well as enhancing social justice and improving the forest resources in their locality. However, it also demonstrates that though the community forestry programme has a positive impact, it faces several constraints and challenges. The local Forest User Group is controlled by a few élites making the poor and disadvantaged vulnerable to further marginalization. The results of the case study strongly indicate that community forestry processes must address the political, economic and social needs of the forest users, and also provide a neutral platform on which the poor can present their cases.
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