Open Journal of Forestry
2014. Vol.4, No.1, 58-69
Published Online January 2014 in SciRes (
The Local Environmental, Economic and Social Tragedies of
International Interventions on Community Based Forest
Management for Global Environmental Conservation: A Critical
Bhubanes wor Dhakal
Support for Development, Christchurch, New Zealand
Received October 16th, 2013; revised November 21st, 2013; accepted December 19th, 2013
Copyright © 2014 Bhubaneswor Dhakal. This is an open access article dis tributed un der the Creative Co mmons
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This study reviewed the policies and outcomes of international support for forest management in Nepal
and answered whether international support on forest management in developing countries resulted in
positive socioeconomic and environmental outcomes at local communities. The evaluation is based on the
socio-ecological theory and synergies-tradeoff model of forestry ecosystems goods and services. The
study shows that the international interventions influenced national policies and community forestry prac-
tices, w hich contributed to the remarkable increase of forest stock. The new forestry institutions increased
timber product supplies to urban users and contributed to offsetting of greenhouse gas emission of afflu-
ent societies in overseas. However, the intervention spoiled centuries of old forestry practices, which had
contributed to the evolvement of socio-ecological condition, sustained local economy and environment
systems. The new forestry institutions and practices locked local opportunities of multipurpose uses of
forest, worsened water yield and local knowledge, and hampered local economic activities. Consequently
they affected habitat diversities for forest based species, and forest resource supplies for sustaining agro-
biodiversities and local food security. In reality the interventions increased benefit to distant users (urban
users in the country and affluent societies in overseas) and further marginalized local communities and
particularly socially disadvantaged people. The paper shows that the international forestry policies and
supports are technically wrong or poorly based on science which is against their promise of providing
better technical supports and benefiting local communities in developing countries. It argues that the in-
terventions created many complexities in forestry institutions and practices which require too costly en-
deavor to change and address the local socioeconomic and environmental problems. The paper has ex-
plained the root cause of the international policy problem on many schools of thought.
Keywords: Socio-Ecological Systems; Community Abuse; Synergies-Tradeoff Model; Kaleidoscopic
Forestry is a common property in many developing countries
and particularly in mountain regions. The resource has multiple,
competing uses for environmental conservation and human
wellbeing (Karsenty & Ongolo, 2011). Most environmental
policy analysts argued that the forests are poorly and ineffi-
ciently managed, which has exacerbated environmental prob-
lems. International policies and supports are believed to im-
prove resource management efficiency, increase local socioe-
conomic benefits and contribute to global environmental con-
servation (Douglas & Simula, 2010). Many policies and field
activities have been implemented at national, regional and in-
ternational initiation for many years. There is also a counter
argument that the forest managed for global benefit can lead
tradeoffs outcomes to local communities, affect both communi-
ties and ecosystems and worsen the mountain vulnerabilities
(Hausler, 1993; Ives & Messerli, 1989). The argument is based
on the fact that social, economic and environmental systems in
developing countries are complex, often vulnerable and strong-
ly attached with forestry resources (Jodha, 2001; Ives & Mes-
serli, 1989). Inappropriate intervention can disestablish existing
systems and make social and environmental problems worse.
However, critical problems of international interventions par-
ticularly on the management of common property forest in
mountain context are poorly explained and documented in lite-
The aim of the study is to synthesize existing knowledge
about international forest policies. Specifically this study re-
viewed emerging local environmental, economic and social
problems associated with international interventions on man-
aging common property forest resources for global environ-
mental conservation. It means that the focus of the study was on
emerging problems of the forest management, whi ch was asso-
ciated with international interventions. This study was carried
out with the assumption that the international forest policies
and external supports overlooked local importance of the com-
mon property forests and indigenous forestry practices, and
exacerbated local problems.
This study is based on opinion and literature review and par-
ticularly the case of international interventions for community-
based forest management in Nepal. Information available from
desktop literature review and other secondary sources are used
to support the arguments and opinions. In addition this study
applied theories, intuitive logic, learning from work experience,
published material and field research to explain the problems.
These approaches are popularly used in the literature particu-
larly in cross-disciplinary issues (Karsenty & Ongolo, 2011).
This study limited explaining the problems of external inter-
vention on the following issues: Biodiversity, water and local
knowledge conservation, climate change adaptation, food secu-
rity, economic development and social abuses.
Regarding structure of this paper, the importance of multi-
purpose management of the common property forest for moun-
tain rural communities and the model of synergies and tradeoffs
of forest ecosystems are described in the two subsequent sec-
tions. Other section provides a brief account of history of inter-
national interventions on the Nepal’s forestry sector. Then the
emerging local environmental, economic and social problems
are described. The causes of the problems of the interventions
are described on different views before concluding the paper.
The Importance of Multipurpose Management
of Forests and Evolution of Socio-Ecological
Nepal, as a mountain country, has a special significance of
forestry resources particularly human modified ecosystems. Its
land environmentally safe for human settlement and farming
uses are distributed in patches. The mountain communities
were settled and carried out farming in the environmentally safe
lands (a low risk of landslides and malaria). The limits of envi-
ronmentally safe land resulted in the existence of agricultural
land patches inside or adjoining public forests and small-size of
private land holdings. The unsafe lands were managed as a
common property and used together in forest and pasture pro-
duction to meet the broader needs of communities and envi-
ronments. The communities used multiple products and servic-
es of the common property to complement private resources
and sustain livelihoods (Dhakal et al., 2011; Hobley, 1996).
Products and services derived from the joint management com-
plement farmland resources and contribute to sustaining the
livelihoods of mountain people with small size of landholdings.
Therefore, almost all communities have some areas under
common or public forest and many kinds of wild animals in the
forests close to human settlement. The multipurpose manage-
ment and common property systems eased transfer of other
resources (e.g. crop and animal genetics and local knowledge)
between agroclimatic zones. The forest resources, thus, have
been an integral part of agricultural and other socioeconomic
systems in the societies.
The multipurpose management system also reduced the wild-
life effects on agriculture and provided habitat for many wild-
life species. The centuries old community practices of manag-
ing the forestry resources for multiple uses have modified nat-
ural systems which resulted in the development of social-eco-
logical systems (e.g., forest product based agro-biodiversity and
indigenous knowledge) that significantly shape ecosystems in
the Nepali mountain landscape today. This land distribution
pattern hardly found in most European countries where the land
is extensively privatized and used in farming, e.g., 75 per cent
of the land area in UK. The interactions of the social and eco-
logical systems have not only determined the provisioning of
ecosystem goods and services but also contributed to the de-
velopment and sustaining of new ecosystems (e.g., wild biodi-
versity in farm and human modified forest and pasture sys-
Some social groups in the country have a nomadic style of
living and others have high dependency on the land resources in
managed communal systems. Unlike farmers in western and
other societies, the communities used only a small land area to
cultivate crops though it was insufficient to feed the families.
They practiced cultivating the land once in 5 years or so (Rasul
& Thapa, 2003). They complemented the private resources by
forest resources, particularly non-timber products, and sus-
tained their living. The non-timber forest products could reach
harvestable size in a short time and be available mostly free
throughout the year. That is the fact to have a higher proportion
of forest areas and rich biodiversity around their community
areas. The critical role of the forestry and farming practices in
sustaining environmental resources are hardly recognized in
environmental literature. The lands traditionally used under
shifting cultivation practices, nomadic systems or managed in
common are registered as public forests. These are now exces-
sively controlled by state authorities. The territories of the in-
digenous people have been used for environmental conserva-
tion in national elite and international interests. The communi-
ties are squeezed in marginal lands, and forced them to grow
crop in environmentally sensitive lands and shorter rotation
period. The forest based people are blamed for encroaching on
environmentally sensitive land and using forest resources (Ra-
sul & Thapa, 2003) but the fact of evolving the resource use
practices and reasons of current changes in their practices are
Community forest has a special importance for agricultural
and forest biodiversity conservation. According to CBS (2008)
endanger wild animals and plant species exist not only in the
protected areas in Nepal but in farming and community forest
areas. Many birds, wild animals and invertebrates share habitats
in both forest and farmlands. Maintaining the biodiversity
needs diversity of habitats, which requires diversity in forest
condition. Community forests are small in area, average 93 ha
per community with most less than 60 ha in size at current con-
ditions (Kanel et al., 2012). The diversity in resource and habi-
tat condition is less likely to be naturally created. Mountain
communities were used to practicing coppicing and lopping of
forest trees for multipurpose uses. Allowing the practices en-
hanced habitat diversities for forest species and supplied re-
sources supporting agro-biodiversities. Crops in farming land
provided refuge for many wildlife species on the forest edge
especially during natural disasters (e.g., forest fires) and feed in
scarce seasons.
Nepal is a home to many typical local breeds of cattle, buf-
falo, sheep, and goats (CBS, 2008), which were fed on the
community forest pasture for centuries because of the limited
private land resources for feed. In the 1985/86 survey, public
forest contributed about 70 per cent of livestock feed require-
ments in the high hills, 39 per cent in the mid hills, 15 per cent
in the Terai, and 60 per cent in the Siwaliks region (MPFS,
1988). The share of forest fodder for livestock feed under the
current management system, however, has been negligible in
most communities. The practices of grazing and tree harvesting
for other uses suppressed aggressive weeds and created diver-
sity in the habitat matrix, which enhanced and maintained the
diversity of both animal and plant species. The practices, for
instance, enhanced the habitat of some bird species and were
particularly popular in controlling insects in farm lands, which
requires moderately open forest conditions and bushes.
Alpine land is another important common property in the
mountainous areas, which occupy over 10 per cent of total land
area in Nepal (CBS, 2008). Its vegetation consists of seasonal
pasture species and perennial plants, including shrubs, but trees
are rare. The resources could be used in the transhumance prac-
tice that requires seasonal movement of animals to different
agro-climatic zones. Most livestock was managed under the
Kharka system (mobile grazing system). Grazing in the forests
was rotational, based on seasonal availability of feed on farms
and in the forests (Graner, 1997). Transhumance herds grazed
alpine pasture during the rainy and autumn seasons and re-
quired access to pastureland in warmer places during the cold
season. During the winter and spring seasons, those animals
also fed on forest-based tree fodder in addition to grazing. The
supply of forest fodder was also essential for farmers in other
regions when farm fodder ran out, particularly in spring and
summer. The practice of livestock grazing and other uses of
alpine resources suppressed weeds and other unwanted invasive
species (Dhar et al., 1997), which created habitat diversity for
wild plant and animal species (Kala, 2004). In addition, seeds of
many wild plants get treated and spread through the dung of
grazing animal.
The common property resource played a crucial role in de-
veloping and sustaining farm crop and animal biodiversity.
Sustaining the transhumance practice requires changing places
for livestock grazing in different communities and agro-climatic
zones. The practice provided opportunities to cross breed high
altitude livestock species, which enriched diversity in the gene
pool of the livestock population (Kharel et al., 2005). Those
animals were placed on and fed in cropping lands during winter
for farm fertilization. Traditionally, many varieties of local
vegetables, herbs, spices and other food crops and breeds of
livestock were sustained on the forest resources and livestock
compost. Some of the plant s pecies are c hemical fert ilizer into-
lerant (Raut et al., 2012).
Poor rural houses require forest products to complement their
private resource and so sustain their livelihood because of pos-
sessing insufficient private land resources and a poor level of
livelihood assets (Dhakal et al., 2011). Non-timber forest prod-
ucts are the main inputs to leverage their farm economic activi-
ties and the means to utilize their spare work time for income
generation. Communities used to follow a coppicing system for
firewood and a lopping practice for fodder collection under
traditional forest management systems that produced consider-
able amount of daily needed products for the people. The prac-
tices had increased the availability of other products (poles and
stakes for agricultural uses) and created some open spaces in
the forest allowing other non-timber species to grow under the
trees (Harrop, 2007).
One problem in disadvantaged Nepali communities is low
level of local economic activity that leads to the region being
less attractive for development investment. Young people and
active labour force hardly live in the communities. Members of
rural communities are now bearing huge social and emotional
costs (e.g. increasing marriage divorce and mental sickness
from family isolation) because of migrating of young people
and parents to work in overseas such as the Middle East and
Malaysia (Gartaula et al., 2012). The forest resource supported
local employment would provide people an opportunity to live
with family, provide emotional needs and care, and help com-
munities, which are not possible while working in the overseas.
Local employment and income generation opportunities are
extremely important to women who socially have less access to
and more risks in off-community and overseas employment.
Increasing production of non-timber products would many
other people including retired and frustrated from jobs who
would like to be returned in their communities and engaged in
some economic activities.
Through many years of practice and experience, mountain
communities have identified several kinds of local resources
and their utilization techniques to solve the problems of re-
source scarcity, health nuisance and natural disaster (Dong et al.
2007). People in disadvantaged communities require, for in-
stance, local forest species that can be used to relieve physical
stresses and control incursions of pests and diseases. Much
local knowledge and some cultural features are based on forest
resources and mostly on non-timber forest products. The re-
sources, skills and services of traditional knowledge are more
valuable for rural women and other poor people who have poor
access to or affordability of modern services (Rokaya et al.,
2010). The information must be continuously updated, which
can often be costly to provide from a research approach for
local decision making. It is also too costly to document locally
valuable knowledge and teach it to people. The knowledge
generally passes by word of mouth from people who observe or
practice the activity. Availability of the resources had made it
possible to pass local knowledge and skills from the older gen-
eration to a younger one by word of mouth and actual practice.
Farmers and others working in alpine regions were sources of
information and suppliers of herbal medicines for rural com-
munity, which was important particularly for people in disad-
vantaged and remote communities, and natural disaster condi-
tions (Dong et al., 2007).
The above discussions show that the centuries old communi-
ty practices of managing forests for multiple purposes resulted
in the development and sustaining resources and environmental
systems adaptable to the biophysical and socioeconomic condi-
tions. According to Folke et al. (2003) the modified system can
be termed as the coupled social-ecological system and used as
an analytical framework to evaluate provisioning of natural,
socioeconomic and cultural products and services regulated and
sustained by a system created by interactions of biophysical and
social phenomena. The framework is considered relevant to
evaluate how localized socioeconomic and environmental sys-
tems are impacted by the international interventions on com-
munity forest management. The synergies and tradeoffs model
of forestry product and services is included to clari fy biophy si-
cal phenomena.
The Science of Synergies and T radeoffs of Forest
Ecosystem Services
Experimental based studies show that ecosystems services of
forest vary with management models (Phelps et al., 2012;
Kapos et al., 2012; Strassburg et al. , 2012; Amato et al., 2011;
Thompson et al., 2009; Bruijnzeel, 2004). Following the theo-
ries the synergies and tradeoffs of some ecosystems services
under different levels of tree canopy cover in a hypothetical
community forest can be illustrated as in Figure 1. The figure
indicates that increasing forest canopy conver increases carbon
storage (climate change mitigation service) and reduces soil
erosion (enhance soil conservation service) upto certail level. It
enhances biodiversity conservation services in some extent and
then reduces. However, the increasing forest cover reduce
downstrem flow (water service). Soil erosion level might also
be increased again in some level at extreem canopy cover
condition of the tree though it is not explicit in the graph. The
synergies and tradeoffs model implies that many ecosystems
services of forest would be provisioned at higher level under
moderate than extreme canopy cover condition. The moderate
canopy condition provides a room to produce a significant
amount of products valuable in supporting economies in com-
munities and livelihood of local people.
History and Problems of External Intervention
on Mountain Forest Management
Most forests in the mountains were traditionally managed
under a community system with multiple uses for the broader
needs of communities. Substantial forest degradation happened
around district and regional headquarters following the political
system change 1951 due to increasing of public construction
and town development activities (Hobley, 1996). Coincidental-
ly, in the early 1970s extreme rainfall occurred causing devas-
tating landslides in Nepal and flooding in Bangladesh1. Interna-
tional agencies blamed on local farmers for the deforestation,
landslides and flooding problems and started interventions on
the forest and pasture resource management. One of the reasons
to increase their interventions on the forest management since
1980s is to make contribution on global climate change mitiga-
tion (Hausler, 1993). Table 1 shows the key dates and interna-
tional agencies influencing common property forest manage-
ment in Nepal. Critical details of international interventions are
presented by Hobley (1996), Hausler (1993) and Ives and Mes-
serli (1989). The international pressurized the government to
change the indigenous forest management and using practices
(Hobley, 1996; Ives & Messerli, 1989). The aid agencies con-
Figure 1.
A general model of synergies and tradeoffs of some ecosystems
services under different levels of tree canopy cover in a hypothetical
community forest.
sidered that the technical, financial and institutional capacities
of the Nepal government were very poor to manage forests
appropriately and international support on the issues, including
policy advocacy, would conserve forest and halt environmental
The international agencies misinterpreted the mountain re-
source management practices and problems, and carried out
interventions without due consideration on social, economic
and other environmental consequences from their interventions.
According to the Forestry Sector Master Plan “[T]he main
causes of forest degradation are overcutting of wood for fuel
and heavy lopping of trees for fodder” (MPFS, 1988: p. 31).
The plan was developed under their strict technical guidance
and support of the international agencies (Hobley, 1996; Haus-
ler, 1993). The plan discouraged the use of local forest practices
and non-timber forest products, which were practices of hun-
dreds of years to meet the broader needs of communities
(MPFS, 1988). The data and estimation processes were mani-
pulated which resulted over exaggeration of demand and unde-
restimation of supply of timber (Hrabovszky & Miyan, 1987).
It was planned, funded and practiced for “reducing and control-
ling livestock numbers” of mountain farmers (MPFS, 1988 p.
148) even though livestock farming was the engine and inspira-
tion to sustain farming systems and maintain economic and
environmental vitality in the mountain region (Hausler, 1993).
The plan focused forest management to increase timber and
firewood supplies to urban users and industries and gave little
value to increased non-timber forest products to meet local
community demands (Dhakal, 2011; MPFS, 1988). The agen-
cies advised specially to introduce industrial model of forest
management in the name of providing technical support of
international experts for improve management of the commu-
nity based forests.
Though the donor agencies implemented the Master Plan by
establishing their own organizations (often called “forestry
development project”) parallel to government bodies (Edmonds,
2003), under expatriates’ leadership or advice, they played
wrong role model. They ignored local problems while imple-
menting the Master Plan. Government agencies considered
themselves weak in technical capacity for institutional building
so followed the forest development model of the donor agen-
cies in other districts with no direct involvement of the interna-
tional agencies. They relied on the assumption that donors’
working model was superior.
The protected areas expanded dramatically as IUCN and
WWF intervened in the protected area programme including the
preparation of conservation planning (Basnet, 2003). The area
of Nepal occupied by protected areas has increased now over
21 per cent (CBS, 2011). Until the 1970s, the national parks
and wildlife reserves had occupied only three per cent of the
national land area and established in the forests and other
community areas convenient for recreational use by king Shaha
families. IUCN intervened the Nepal government’s policies to
extend protected areas in forest rich regions to meet its global
target of increasing protected areas. The aid agencies provided
technical advices, financial supports and personal development
incentives to motivate decision makers of conservation agen-
cies for expanding the protected areas in poor community areas
where local livelihoods were mainly based on the resources of
the common forests. Otherwise the expansion would have oc-
curred only in some regions or small areas.
The REDD policy, endorsed in the global climate summit,
1According to the UN Climate Change Report (2007), the global rainfall
pattern remarkably changed from this time and Australia also experienced
devastating floods in t his period.
Table 1.
Key dates and international agencies influenced on forest management in Nepal (Sources: Hausler, 1993; MPFS, 1988; GOA, 2012).
Extreme rainfall occurred
causing de vastating landslides in Nepal a nd f l ooding in Bangladesh
Early 1976
from World
Research Institute (WRI)
Warned that Nepali farmers followed wrong
farming and forestry practices which were leading towards serious
environmental disasters in Nepa l and downstrea
m (Eckholm, 1975).
Introduced and supported tree plantation, mostly exotic pine species in pasturelands and multipurpose use forests of
poor communities. The government
and other a i d agencies fol lowed the model to show physical pr ogress of fores try
World Bank
The World Bank warned int ernational l y that all forests in Nepal would be wi ped out within t wo decade s i f t raditiona l
forest practices would not h
alted. The practices would create a severe environmental catastrophe in the country and
AUSAID, The World
Bank, USAID, UK aid,
Influenced on the government policies of natural resource management by policy dia
logues, advocacy and off er of
financial supports. They shifted their technical advices and financial support from integrated rural development to
forest plantation and protection.
-Smith, the British
forestry expatriate
Using a case study war
ned that m ount ain farmers kept unsustai nable num bers of livestock, exceeding the carrying
capacity of the forest which caused deforestation and accelerated soil erosion in the mountain.
ment Bank and
Provided technical support and guidance to de velop Forestr y Sector M aster Plan for 25 years which dictate d t o
“reduce and control livestock”, cease indigenous forestry practices (lopping of tree branches for fodder and firewood)
and increase plantation an
d timber production to meet urban and industrial needs. The plan was greatly influenced by
Eckholm (1975), the World Bank (1978) and Wyatt-Smith (1982) reports.
Post 1988
Increased influences at policy and implementation levels to expand protected areas and meet their global target
World Bank, SDC, DFID,
The agencies used provided financial and technical support and hastily
carried out forestry conservation activities
(format i on of user group assigning forest management res ponsibility, forestry plantation and protecti on) following
the conce pt of the Forestry Master Plan (1988). Local socioeconomic and other environmental effe
ct cared little.
Earth Submit
The government introduced the Forest Amendment Act in 1998 and a mandatory forest i nventory was introduced to
regulate forest uses as directed by “Sustainable Forestry” in Agenda 21 and contribute to global climate chang
mitigation. The policy has dictated compulsory forest inventories and limited forest harvesting to 50% of the mean
annual increment of fore s t .
Climate Submit Bali
Introduced Reduced Emission from Deforesta t ion and Forest Degrada t i on ( REDD) polic y and the Wor ld Bank
selected Nepal for REDD policy experimentation.
After 2007
Various fun ding and
support agencies
Introduced many REDD projects and continued funding
for protected area expansion in community forests.
Bali 2007, is another international intervention in community
forest management in Nepal. International agencies were inter-
ested in giving continuity to their past businesses of forest ex-
pansion and protection in Nepal, and in contributing to the
global environmental conservation goal. The main objective of
the REDD policy is to reduce the community uses of forest
products and enrich the forest carbon stock to offset global
greenhouse emissions produced by affluent societies and indus-
tries in developed countries. The international agencies would
like to restrict local practices of using forest products and man-
age the resources in an intact natural condition. Table 2 shows
the names of the implementing and funding agencies of the
REDD projects (GON, 2012). Despite the pilot phase pro-
gramme it has been implemented in 58 districts out of 75 dis-
tricts in the country. The REDD experimentations are also done
even in very poor and tribal communities (Uprety e l at., 2011).
It has advised and funded enrichment plantations in open forest
spaces to increase forest cover, and thinning, pruning and
weeding activities to enrich logs and carbon stocking (Khadka
et al., 2012). The REDD funding has been considered as a re-
source and opportunity to revive slacked international forestry
funding particularly for boosting personal development activi-
ties and other facilities for forestry professionals.
Local Tragedies of International Interventions
International agencies played crucial roles to change Nepal’s
forest management for environmental conservation (Hausler,
1993; Ives & Merselli, 1989) and brought some physical
progresses in mountain forestry landscapes. About 15,000 for-
est user groups are formed within 20 years and have taken over
responsibility of local forest protection (Kanel et al., 2012).
Coverage of protected areas increased from 7 percent in 1988 to
over 20 percent in 2011. Forestlands are well covered by trees
in most cases (FAO, 2010). Bare land areas in the accessible
forests are planted in most cases. The wood stock of communi-
ty forests is increasing on average by 2 cubic meters annually
(Kanel et al., 2012). Harvestable sizes of trees have been over-
stocked and underutilized in many cases (Khanal, 2002). Car-
bon pool has bee n enriched (FAO, 2010). P roduction and availa-
bility of timber has been exceeded demand and local availabili-
ty of firewood has been increased in some extent and commun-
ities (Kanel et al., 2012). The user groups are also serving as
legal grass root bodies to deal with external agencies or people.
Local fund has been generated for forest and other community
development by selling of forest products and recently carbon
emission reduction service in few groups (Khadka et al., 2012).
Table 2.
Current PES schemes in Nepal (Sources: REDD, 2013; GON, 2012).
Implementing agencies and program
Program districts
+ payment systems)
Dolakha, Gorkha and
Pilot test o f REDD paym ent scheme for
forest carbon
offsetting service
(Hariyo Ban Program)
Many districts
REDD scheme for biodive rsity conse rvation in f or est
(Poverty alleviatio n R EDD+ pilot)
14 district s i n mid and
western regions
REDD scheme for poverty alleviation an biodiversity
conservation in forestry
FP project of Pl an Vivo
(an international NGO)
8 Villages
REDD scheme for forest c arbon enhancement and local
livelihoods s upp ort
Rupantara n NG
O-The Himalayan
Community Carbon Project
Dolakha, Bugling Rupandehi
and dang
REDD scheme for enhanci ng for est and community
ability to adapt to climate change; and reduce livestock
grazing/feeding in forest resources
(Clima t e Change and REDD
Partnership Program)
58 districts
Awareness creation about REDD benefit to
indigenous pe opl e
Awareness to collaborative forest users
Mahottari district
Community capacity building
Forest Ministry
(Programme for readiness for REDD)
National level
National REDD capacity building
Recently information systems of forestry resources are greatly
improved. However, the international interventions have re-
sulted in many environmental, economic and social tragedies at
local level. It takes a considerable period to experience both
positive and negative impacts of recent international interven-
tions such as Reduced Emission Deforestation and Forest De-
gradation-plus (REDD). The major tragedies of all the interna-
tional interventions so far experienced are as follows.
Biodiversity Loss
Changes in the institutions and management of community
forests by external intervention affected both forest and agri-
cultural biodiversity. External agencies brought industrial mod-
el of forest management and advised forest users to remove
naturally grown non-woody vegetation and shrub species, and
replace the area by fast growing trees to enhance log production
and carbon stocking. Commencing effect of conservation ac-
tions most of forests are covered by tree and other aggressive
species regenerated naturally and overstocked in some cases
(Shrestha et al., 2010). The suppression of these products
created daily need products scarcity of forest users that caused
over exploitation understory resources and left barely resources
for biodiversity (Shrestha & McManus, 2008). Decreasing the
resources on the forest floor forced wild animals to go into
agricultural lands for their feed, which increase their vulnera-
bility. The habitat of common birds providing seed dispersal
and pest regulation services are the bushes grown in moderately
open forest conditions which have been lost. Declining tran-
shumance systems reduced the weed control service of lives-
tock and farmers that results in the invasion of local aggressive
and exotic weeds into alpine pastureland (Kala & Shrivastava,
2004) which is little studied in Nepal. The species established
in open pasture and livestock dung over many hundreds of
years may have declined to extinction. Communities have still
advised and funded tree planting to fill any open space left in
the forest (Karky et al., 2012; Kh adka et al., 2012). The diverse
forest conditions, including some open spaces (in terms of tree
cover) for maintaining forest biodiversity, thus, hardly remain.
Biodiversity has been also significantly degraded in reduction
of human uses of forest products and services as community
used forests converted into protected areas (Christensen &
Heilmann, 2009). Creating a biodiversity healthy regime re-
quires removing and replacing some trees which reduce carbon
pool below the baseline level and affect payment in REDD
forests. The government also has poor institutional capacity to
afford and manage for creating healthy forest state in protected
areas and other public forests. In addition, forest officials feel a
risk of misusing the forests by communities and elites so resist
allowing change on forest management. Therefore, the REDD
forestry practices, as funded by the USAID (Table 2), rather
contribute to escalating degradation of forest biodiversity
evolved in open spaces created by human activities and the
reduction of forest resource supplies to support agro-biodiver-
Change in forest management has also degraded agrobiodi-
versity. Declining access to forest grazing services has reduced
the population of high hill animals such as yak, decreasing 1.8
per cent annually (CBS, 2008). The animal feed in forest pas-
tures for thousands of years, is economically little viable and
probably biophysically unfit in stall-feeding management sys-
tems. Some of the local breeds of goat and cattle could not
survive well in stall feeding. According to CBS (2008), pure
breeds of some livestock are extinct (e.g., Siri cattle) and others
(e.g., Lulu and Achhame cattle, Lime buffalo, and Lampuchhre
and Kage sheep), are threatened to extinction which were sus-
tained and evolved on forest pasture and grazing for hundreds
years. Forest conservation practices also reduce livestock mo-
bility and the opportunities for their cross breeding between dif-
ferent geographic region s, and the fertilization of farms scattered
Kanchanpur, Kailali, Banke, Bardiya, Nawalparasi, Chitwan, Bara, Parsa, Rautahat Mustang, Chitwa n, Kaski, Tanahu, Manang, Lamjung, and Gorkha.
314 Districts (Rautahat, Bara, Parsa, Makawanpur, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilbastu, Dang, Banke, Bardia, Kailali, Kanchanpur and Argakhachi).
in different geographical areas. Crop varieties suitable in less
productive and rain-fed land are disappearing from communi-
ties as farm manure production or availability decreased with
the restrictions on forest use for livestock production and mo-
bility. The land is either abandoned for cropping or put to other
uses because of decreasing farm manure supplies and increas-
ing fertilizer prices (Raut et al., 2012). Loss of vegetable spe-
cies susceptible to fertilizer is natural in the shortage of farm
manure as it happened in England in 1960s (Robinson & Su-
therland, 2002).
Wate r Problem
Most rural communities use spring water and experience a
shortage during late winter to summer. Communities have ex-
perienced declining water flow in spring and stream with in-
creasing forest cover in catchments (Kanel et al., 2012). The
management of community forestland is critically important for
water recharge service. Scientific studies carried out in different
ecological conditions clearly showed that increasing forest
cover reduces downstream water flows significantly in low
rainfall and summer seasons. There is little evidence that forest
cover has any contribution in rainfall except the cloud forest in
Latin America (Bruijnzeel, 2004). Government agencies of
some developed countries, therefore, discourage forestation in
drinking water catchments of scarce water supply areas. How-
ever, some influential international agencies (e.g., IUCN and
FAO) recommended the Nepal government to enrich forest and
attain full cover to increase rainfall and water supply in criti-
cally scarce areas and seasons (IUCN, 2006; FAO, 1996).
Local Knowledge and Resources Loss
The new forest management has affected local knowledge
gained in hundreds years of practices. Community knowledge
on and indigenous practices of using of forest resources de-
clined under community forestry and protected area programme
which reduced access to forest and availability of non-timber
forest products (Pandit & Kumar, 2010). Information about the
resources of alpine regions and remote areas decreased when
people’s opportunities to graze alpine pasture were reduced by
being blocked for grazing in warmer belt forest during winter
and spring. The growth of many species valuable in sustaining
local knowledge is suppressed or lost because restriction on
resources uses fosters domination of aggressive plant species
(Kala & Shrivastava, 2004). The decreasing use of local know-
ledge and skills is making people pay high costs for market
goods and services. Market goods and services at affordable
prices are often not safe to use, particularly for people in dis-
advantaged and remote communities. It has been too costly to
make them revive of the collapsed local knowledge systems
and institutions in the communities. The declining of sources of
information and the supply of non-timber forest products (e.g.
herbal medicines) for rural communities has, thus, aggravated
the vulnerability of poor people, especially women, in disad-
vantaged communities and in natural disaster conditions.
Food Security Problem
Forest resources were bases of food security in many com-
munities. One common use of the forest resource was for lives-
tock grazing and fodder supply, which contributes to food secu-
rity directly by producing animal products and indirectly by
producing farm manure and drought power for crop production.
Donor agencies purposively and strategically advised Nepal
government and funded to reduce and control livestock hold-
ings of poor communities to increase forest (Hausler, 1993;
Ives & Merselli, 1989). Pine and other non-fodder species were
planted in community pastureland. Livestock holdings have
decreased significantly as the policy was implemented (Dhakal
et al., 2012). Decreasing livestock holdings reduced farm ma-
nure production that reduced crop yields and escalated farm
land abandonment (Raut et al., 2012; Khanal & Watanabe,
2006). The REDD programme of some of the donor agencies
(e.g. the Himalayan Community Carbon Project funded by
SDC, DFID and FINIDA) have designed to reduce livestock
grazing and other uses of products by communities. It destroys
socio-ecological systems for food security evolved and sus-
tained in mountain geo-ecological condition for centuries. The
food security effect of external intervention is higher in remote
and high hill communities where transhumance practices of
alpine regions collapsed due to restrictions on mobile animal
grazing in the forests, which is essential during winter (snowing)
and early spring (Dhakal et al., 2011). Loss of forage in forest
also contributed on increasing incidence of wild animals on
farm crops. Poor households, particularly with elderly and
women, are passive victims of food scarcity.
The institutional change and forest management activities for
carbon trading and protected areas based biodiversity conserva-
tion are done for forever. The changes create many legal com-
plexities and social disputes in the use for food production ac-
tivities. For example, forests of pine planted in the pasture of
the poor communities have been legally restricted to change
into fodder production and grazing forests. This requires a long
legal battle to get approved the land use change to food produc-
tion related activities and involves a huge cost and time to de-
velop production and management facilities. The impact of the
external interventions on food security, therefore, will be long
Climate Change Adaptation Problem
Mountain communities and forest can be further affected by
global climate change. Forest species, structure and age com-
positions are decreased in most of community forests (Shrestha
et al., 2012), and more critical in donor supported districts. It
requires changes on forest management practices to increase
their capacities adaptive to the climate change. It requires in-
creasing diversities in stand composition, structure and age of
the forest to enhance resilience (Amato et al., 2011). Biodiver-
sity conservation also requires creating heterogeneity in forest
habitat conditions, maintaining functional diversity and reduc-
ing the conversion of diverse natural forests to reduced-species
(Thompson et al., 2009). It requires heavy management opera-
tion and reformation of the forest to increase adaptive capacity
to climate change under existing condition. The changes on
forest management conflicts with the REDD policy requirement
of maintaining baseline forest carbon level. After many years of
study Amato et al. (2011) demonstrated clear tradeoffs between
the achievement of mitigation and adaptation objectives from
forest management. Contrary to the facts the international
agencies (e.g. DFID, SDC and FINIDA—refer Table 2) intro-
duced REDD policy for enhancing forest biodiversities and
adaptive capacity of forest and communities. The REDD fore-
stry practices are intended to manage the forest in an intact
natural condition which promotes aggressive or in vasive species,
leads forest to homogeneity condition, and reduces resources for
multipurpose use. It is too early to observe the impacts of the
program but it most likely increases vulnerability of both
communities and ecosystems systems based on small size of
forest. The agencies are also destroying traditional forestry
practices and creating new institutional barriers which affect
management and utilization of forest resources for adaption to
climate change.
The Marginalization of Poor People and Indigenous
Growing numbers of studies have shown that external inter-
vention in common property management further marginalizes
poor people. The community forest management activities in-
troduced by external agencies abolished traditional systems of
producing non-timber forest products and directed the promo-
tion of log based forest management (Uprety et al., 2011). Log
production requires a longer period and suppresses the growth
of many non-timber species underneath the trees (e.g., grasses
for livestock and medicinal plans for income generation) and
reduces the production of stakes and poles valuable for agricul-
tural. Fodder or grazing was the major means of forest benefit
for many households in the old management regime (Maharjan
et al., 2003) but it has decreased dramatically in most forests
(Dhakal et al., 2011). The reduction in supply of non-timber
products also reduced economic activity in the communities
that would otherwise benefit poor households that have poor
access to off-community or other high returning employment
activities. Under the community forest policy, households are
allowed to use logs only for home consumption, not for sale by
individuals. Poor people consume much lower amounts of tim-
ber because of the poorer capacity of the household to use it
than rich households. Some community user groups sell the
timber in markets at lower than the production cost (a loss of
high opportunity benefit), which benefits the elite of urban
areas at the expense of the poor people. Fifty per cent of the
income from timber sales outside the community goes to Dis-
trict Forest Development Fund, which has been used mostly at
the district forest official’s discretion. The rest of the income
goes to community funds where powerful households indirectly
get the lion’s share of the benefit.
Current payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes in
both forest and water sectors are not functioning in a true mar-
ket mechanism. Payments are also not based on an assessment
of environment outputs and economic cost/benefit. They are
based on discretion, interest and the policy of the implementing
agencies. For example, Makawanpur District Council receives
12 percent benefit from the hydropower company and its 20
percent goes to the communities of Kulekhani watershed PES
scheme. A study reported that the total annual income for the
watershed communities was RS 60,000 (about US $600) for
conservation of over 62,000 ha of forest by over 9000 house-
holds (Khatri, 2011). It can be imagined that the foregone bene-
fit for the households from changing the community land man-
agement was many folds higher. Alternative management
would most probably result in a much better level of the wa-
tershed conservation services. Interestingly, the households
affected from the PES program, however, are silent against
their marginalization which is a common case in community
level work due to elites’ pressure.
Some policy analysts (e.g. Strassburge et al., 2012) suggest
that poor people should leave their forest use to get out of the
poverty trap. However, Lam and Paul (2013) study showed that
people displaced from the forest conservation suffered due to
isolation from their original communities. The declaration of
Langtang National Park in Nepal, for instance, reduced local
people’s access to subsistence forest resources and forced them
to find alternative ways of life. Many young girls from the
park-affected communities migrated to India and became in-
volved in prostitution because they possessed very low levels of
educational, financial and social capital to find other better
ways of life. The effects of the external interventions are great-
er on indigenous ethnic groups that traditionally depended more
on multipurpose forest resources and held smaller sized pro-
ductive private land than other ethnic groups (Vinding &
Kampbel, 2012). Another affected group is women, who take
responsibility of households and bear the burden of forest re-
source scarcity and resultant misery much more than men in the
People in forest development support organizations, interna-
tional aid agencies and profession have talked much about in-
clusive development and forestry governance and related to
current affaire of political institutional development. In practice
they have contributed in developing the institutions which have
reduce access to and control over the local forest resources.
Property Rights and Development Barriers
According to Census 2011, the population growth is negative
in 31 out of 75 districts in the country. It has highly increased
in other districts and this puts excessive pressure on the envi-
ronment. The districts with negative population growth have
low economic activity and excessive uses of forest resources
for conservation. One growing challenge of development is to
balance the pressure on environmental resources by managing
the population. Rural households cannot manage their way of
life on less than 0.5 ha alone because of the changing way of
life, which needs income to afford food and development ser-
vices. Appropriate management of the forest resources could
increase means of livelihoods and provide incentives to live in
their original communities. Studies have shown that many
community forests still have adequate capacity to produce for-
est products and services and keep people employed under
alternative managements (Dhakal et al., 2007).
However, the community pasturelands converted into pine
forest under the external advices and supports (financial and
technical), for instance, now cannot be managed for fodder
production and poverty alleviation because of growing legal
and social complexities (Dhakal et al., 2011). Local people
have lost their de facto property rights on and access to the
forests developed in protected areas. The people have been
displaced from their centuries old living place (Vinding &
Kampbel, 2012). It is not only national law but also interna-
tional law hinders in changing the management of the forests
used in protected areas into community oriented management.
Moreover, both rich and poor nations are going to be bounded
in managing public forests for enhancing carbon sink and tack-
ling global climate change under new phase of the international
policy (The REDD Desk, 2012). The policy will further con-
strain the poor communities to manage their forests currently
under REDD for other local uses and benefits. The forestry
institutions and forest management induced by external inter-
vention create many complex problems. They are highly likely
to be too costly to reform in future. In essence the forestlands
are being locked which creates barriers for other activities of
economic development.
Abuses on Local Communities, Civil Societies and
Almost all forestry development agencies have cited socioe-
conomic problems of local communities to justify rational of
their programme activities, and get funding and working ap-
provals. They used poor households in forest protection and
conservation programmes but provided little remuneration.
They used social pressures (e.g. use environmental media
propaganda and approach through local elites) to influence
ordinary people and manage the forest resources for achieving
best interests and benefit of the external agencies. Most of the
agencies know the negative impacts of their interventions on
policies and supports at communities through research reports
and community work experiences but they have continued
funding and implementing further regressive programmes (e.g.,
the current REDD forestry programme, the multi-stakeholders
project and the new protected area development programme)
with repeating the false promises of benefiting the poor com-
munities. The alternative forest management practices proven
to benefit local people and environmental are little practiced.
The agencies advised and funded to manage the community
forest for increasing timber supplies of urban users and offset-
ting carbon produced by affluent societies. They did even risky
and unethical experimentation of the REDD policy on forests
that are the sources of the livelihoods means of barely surviving
poor people. The policy influenced communities’ decisions and
dictated forest management rules for restricting collection of
the daily needed forest products and services and for planting
trees in the remaining forest spaces used in producing daily
needed non-timber products(Uprety et al., 2011; Khadka, 2012).
Traditional farming practices (e.g., shifting cultivation and
collection of woody green products and fodder including lives-
tock grazing of the tribal groups and other communities have
been officially declared a criminal practice. The restrictions on
uses of forest products and services to sustain livelihoods com-
pel many households to abandon their business and farm, and in
some cases, leave the community for good. The forest based
people are blamed for encroaching on environmentally sensi-
tive land and using forest resources (Rasul & Thapa, 2003) but
it is ignored the fact that the territories of the indigenous people
are encroached by government policies and activities of other
societies; and the communities are squeezed in marginal lands,
and forced them to grow crop in sensitive lands and shorter
rotation. The agencies have, therefore, disrespected and chal-
lenged livelihoods and way of lives indigenous people barely
living on the forest resources.
International aid and support agencies have also impaired the
advocatory capability and position of civilian societies (NGOs,
forest user groups and other organizations) on forestry issues.
The Federation of Community Forestry User Group Nepal
(FECOFUN), for instance, a body assumed to represent the
interests and act to safeguard the interests and wills of commu-
nity forest users, has been influenced and used in businesses by
donors and other agencies from its establishment. Its constitu-
tion was prepared by representative of donor agencies and has
directed the FECOFUN to contributing to the conservation of
community forest rather than representing and safeguarding the
interests and wills of community forest user groups. In addition,
from the beginning it has intensively worked in the guidance
and business of donor and other external agencies and mediated
and influenced by the agencies to such a degree that its mem-
bers cannot express strong disagreement on any issue on the
policy or programme of donors even if they know these are
against forest communities. External agencies have involved
FECOFUN, for example, directly in the REDD project, which
contains many policies and activities highly contrary or con-
flicting to resource rights and livelihoods of forest users. The
external agencies, therefore, involved FECOFUN in project
implementation with the objective of neutralizing potential
confrontational position of forest user groups and escaping
from the blame of any wrong doing. This is an abuse of com-
munity institution to manage the local forest resources for
meeting interest of the international agencies.
The disadvantaged households are forced to co-operate the
forestry programmes of vested agencies. Instead of voicing
against inappropriate forest management and their marginaliza-
tion, the victims say that they do not want to be barriers of de-
velopment and innovation, and place them odd in community.
Rather they are compelled to co-operate (Shrestha & McManus,
2008). They are in fact trapped in the “value of forest develop-
ment and innovation” tactically socially constructed by national
and international elites. This situation can be termed as an op-
pressed state of the people. Some new generations of the victim
people may understand the abuses and oppressive actions of the
external agencies. They may have contemptuous against the
people working in the agencies, and ego feelings to take re-
venge. But compounding of legal and social complexities
leaves them little room to bring the justice.
The Problem in International Forestry Policy: A
Kaleidoscopic Case
The inappropriate international intervention is not typically
limited to Nepal. but also find in other developing countries.
For example, Community Forestry International (a California
based INGO run by the US university professors) has advised
and prepared a REDD project in Khasi tribal communities, a
vulnerable social group in India (Project Idea Note, 2011). The
project is funded by the USAID and certified by Plan Vivo
Foundation (a Scottish-based INGO). The tribal community has
eighty-five percent land areas under forest. Its private land-
holding size is average 0.25 ha per household which is insuffi-
cient to produce enough food for family consumption alone.
The funding and supporting agencies have planned and prac-
ticed to replace local fodder based livestock (cattle) system by
imported grain based livestock (poultry and pig) system. Ac-
cording to the REDD project agreement the community people
must comply that “(iii) Cattle if reared, should be of superior
breed and stall-fed with cattle feed procured from outside”
(Project Idea Note, 2011: p. 16). In advising the communities
and funding in the project, the resourceful agencies have ig-
nored potential socioeconomic problems of the vulnerable com-
munities and risk of losing socio-ecological systems and ser-
vices (e.g. forest resource based agrobiodiversity) evolved and
sustained hundreds of year of community civilization. It is very
interesting about saliency of high profiled and knowledgeable
international agencies (e.g. FAO, UNEA and CIFOR) which
could effectively communicate the critical problems in interna-
tional level and influence on international policy decisions. The
agencies, for example FAO and RECOFT rather recognize the
above work as an innovation (Vicker et al., 2012).
The international policy problem can be considered a kalei-
doscopic case and explained by multiple schools of thought.
Some schools of thought are as follows.
a) Proponents of the western hegemony school of thought
argue that most of the western values and practices are in-
compatible with conditions and needs of forest based com-
munities in developing countries, and in many cases envi-
ronmentally unsustainable or unfriendly. However, interna-
tional policies and practices of forestry are founded on the
western world’s institutions, values, social preferences and
practices which are routed through education of forestry
professionals or decision makers, the origin place of devel-
opment support organizations, main source of funding,
languages, people’s expertise and pro-western preference in
influential job positions. The values, ideas and practices of
the non- western world are filtered and suppressed through
different institutional routes. People with challenging views
are excluded in opportunities and supporters of western
values and views are rewarded. The pervasiveness of the
western hegemony has made national professionals power-
less to understand and protect th e quality of local i nstitutions
and practices and real needs of disadvantaged citizen.
Therefore forestry resources traditionally managed for local
environment and socioeconomic benefits are hampered by
increasing western influences in developing countries.
b) Scholars of the institutional school of thought argue that the
community unfriendly activities and marginalization are
outcomes of bad governance and weak institutions of the
government of host countries. Many invisible hands in-
volved in working on international policies and influencing
decisions in their own favour. Under the financial and
symbolic (political and language) influences of aid agencies
the governments in developing countries recognize any ca-
pacity level of people from developed countries as experts,
and allowed to be influential in p olicy and other management
decisions. The developing countries are favorite working
destinations for the people particularly with poor technical
capacity, learners or interest in relaxed lives of developing
countries. The experts mostly provide poor quality of tech-
nical services. If international aid agencies hire any expert
from developing countries they hire to the people who have
characteristics of working in their interest and benefits in-
stead of host countries. Due to weak institutional capacity
the governments of developing countries could not defend
against the wrong doing and protect national interest and
local needs.
c) The proponents of the behavioral school of thought argue
that explaining the emerging local probl ems of forestry is the
professional areas of expertise and responsibility of forest
scientists, academicians, practitioners and related environ-
mentalists. Now the professional people have not have
worked scientifically and played their professional roles
because of over-influences of environment media and ac-
tivists of global environmental issue. Many of them have
benefited from working in the interest and benefit of po-
werful societies or countries or on global issue. The others
have lost their constructive thinking and scientific visioning
abilities in relation to local community needs and broader
environmental problems. The wrong doings of the people
have been little challenged by other professional groups,
civil societies and intellectuals because of technical com-
plexities in environmental issues. Local communities have
been victim of the bad professional services or roles of the
people influential on forestry decision making.
d) Proponents of the neocolonial school of thought argue that
developed countries, purposely and strategically introduced
the new forestry institutions and management practices to
lock the forestland resources used in food production and
destroy livestock farming in developing countries. The de-
veloped countries have influenced forest policies in devel-
oping countries various ways such as offering funds on the
forestry programs of their interest, influencing international
environment conservation policies, employing their people
at influential level in international organizations and using
diplomatic pressures. The restriction on land uses in devel-
oping countries increases future market of agricultural
products for developed countries which have hold vastly
privatized lands and well developed agricultural technolo-
gies and institutions. This land use strategy provides the
developed countries opportunities to balance import of in-
dustrial products from developing countries as well as in-
fluence on world development policy by controlling food.
The control on the uses of forests and the production of li-
vestock in the poor communities also reduces global
greenhouse gas emission, which would relieve the pressure
on emission intensive businesses in the developed countries.
e) The argument of proponents of the gangster (mafiasm)
school of thought differs from the proponents of the neoco-
lonial school of thought. According to the school of thought,
an influential “gang” of business people (called think tanks,
academicians, experts and consultants) have socially tacti-
cally constructed the forest policies and values in the world,
and sold to influential political actors including governments
in developed countries who are de sperate of ideas and polic y
solutions to cool down public outcry for environmental
management in home, and keep their symbolic and political
existence in overseas. The mafia developed the ideas and
constructed new social values on forest to maximize their
own benefit. They do little care negative impacts to so cieti es
and environment. Same natures of people find in other all
over the world and most of them have got opportunity to
work and influence in policies and practices at international,
regional, national and local levels. The followers of the
mastermind gang have propagated and implemented the
forest policies ideas twisted interpretation of real forestry
phenomena and practices, and are paid by developed coun-
tries. Other people hopped on their bandwagon. The forests
are managed according to the strategies of the mafia group
and poor communities became victim of the management.
Most probably all of the fa ctors can have played some roles on
the emerging problems of forestry policies and practices in
developing countries but at different degrees.
The purpose of this study is to explain whether international
interventions and supports on forest management in developing
countries result in positive socioeconomic and environmental
outcomes at local communities. The finding shows that interna-
tional interventions to manage developing countries’ forests for
global environmental conservation can make over-influence on
forestry policies and practices and spoil indigenous locally
adaptable forestry systems evolved and practiced in hundreds of
years. The forestry institutions and management practices
oriented for global environmental interest result in tradeoffs of
production of other environmental services mostly of local
importance. They are more likely to lock opportunities of mul-
tipurpose management and uses of the forest, worsened water
yield, reduced local food security and local knowledge, and
hampered local economic activities. The management can also
reduce habitat diversities for forest based species and resource
supplies for sustaining agro-biodiversities. Poor people are also
most likely to be suffered when community forests are ma-
naged for global interest, particularly extreme environmental
conservation purpose such as offsetting greenhouse gas emis-
sion and protected area based biodiversity conservation. The
international interventions can also make local forestry institu-
tions and practices too costly to change for improving benefit
level to the forest based communities and local environmental
sys tems. The interventions lock local forest resources and in-
stitutions in the position to benefit distance users for long term.
The findings reveal that the supports of international forestry
agencies can benefit global or powerful societies. However, the
agencies are less likely to work for the benefit of local commu-
nity and environment. They care little about the strategic de-
velopment position of institutionally weak countries.
Interestingly, the policy interventions and technical supports
of international agencies are found technically wrong or poorly
based on science, though forestry professionals, environmental
policy analysts and academicians of high profile organizations
are involved in the policy formation and implementation
processes. The work benefitted national elites and other dis-
tance users (urban households in the country and affluent socie-
ties in overseas) at the expenses of poor communities and local
environment. The forestry case reveals that many people work-
ing in high profile international organizations are not trust-
worthy or have poor level of professional ethic.
The forestry problems have been almost impossible to be re-
solved particularly working at the initiation of community be-
cause they reached to a very complex level. Furthermore, it has
been an international strategy to continue the locally bad forest
policies and practices for international benefit. National level
forest policy decisions are controlled or influenced by conserv-
ative and corrupt forestry people. Influential international agen-
cies have provided incentive to national elites in promoting the
policies and practices. Awareness also works little to alleviate
the problem because the aid agencies and influential people in
forestry profession are well aware that their actions further
marginalized poor communities and degraded local environ-
ment. A social movement of like-minded people at both inter-
national and national levels, however, may make some changes.
Triggering of such movement requires breeding of a heinous
feeling with a significant numbers of people working in fore-
stry -related profession with the sense that they deceived local
communities and worked against local environment and the
poor people in order to address interest of affluent society and
other distant users.
Acknowledgemen ts
Most international organizations (e.g. World Bank, FAO,
FINIDA) have claimed that they have advocated, advised and
funded the government and civil societies to change forest
management policy and practices for improving local environ-
ment, promoting sustainable local practices for mountain de-
velopment and benefiting socially disadvantaged communities.
However, their interventions have made the rural poor and local
environment worse. The effects of the problems are pervasive
and critical in both short and long terms. The influential agen-
cies have ignored the issues and rather promoted further worse
policies and practices. The communities have been fooled, de-
ceived, oppressed and exploited by national professional elites
and international agencies under the veil of forest development
and environment conservation. The issues are poorly explained
and shared in popular open access literatures. The fact moti-
vated author in explaining and sharing the realities. He would
also like to thank Dr Narendra Chanda, Department of Forest
Nepal, for providing data about REDD program.
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