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Community forestry pays off for Nepal

Original Article published by Christi Hang on

Nepal – Around the Chitwan National Park in Southern Nepal, forests are supporting the emergence of a host of sustainable local businesses.

Growing businesses in tourism, all-natural products and timber sales are popping up across the forest landscape, boosting local incomes, especially for women, while encouraging sustainable forest management.

The momentum behind this change comes from a decades-long push to hand over forest management rights to local communities who depend on the forests for their livelihoods.

In Nepal, an ambitious government program of forest rights devolution began in the 1970s, and a new forest rights law in 1993 marked a milestone when a significant range of forest uses and management was officially entrusted to Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs).

Nepal is now considered a success story and world leader for forest rights devolution with 20,000 CFUGs, about 40 percent of the population, overseeing 30 percent of the country’s forested lands.