Journal of Forest and Livelihood The English journal of ForestAction Nepal. Full text available for back issues. ForestAction en-US Journal of Forest and Livelihood 1684-0186 Transforming Forest Conflicts: Learning from North-South Conflicts over Community Forests in Terai Region of Nepal <p>Continued forest conflicts in Nepal’s Terai have not only undermined sustainable forest management in the region but have also contributed to emerging social unrest that can undermine transition towards new federal Nepal. Using an action research approach involving intensive participatory research methods, this paper shares experiences of current initiatives and their challenges in transforming forest-conflicts between the northern communities and southern communities in the Terai region of Nepal. The action research process helped bring the conflicting communities together, develop a shared understanding through participatory resource assessment and analysis of socio-institutional processes among the conflicting communities, and help devise a widely acceptable benefit sharing arrangement. Consequently, there has been a substantial reduction in conflict through an inclusive and extended governance arrangement. Consideration of traditional use of forests by distant as well as adjacent communities will be helpful to reduce potential heightening of conflicts in the face of policies that emphasises more on protection and restoration of forest as a response to historical trend of deforestation and emerging threats of climate change. Finally, we suggest that enabling policies including further devolution of forest management rights to local communities and adoption of adaptive approach to resource and institutional management can help mitigate northern communities-southern communities’ conflict in Terai.</p> Naya S Paudel Prabin Bhusal Paul Thompson Parvin Sultana Anukram Adhikary Kamal Bhandari Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Forest and Livelihood 2018-10-31 2018-10-31 16 1 1 14 10.3126/jfl.v16i1.22879 Halting Forest Encroachment in Terai: What Role for Community Forestry? <p>This paper highlights the lessons of using adaptive learning in community forestry that effectively help to resolve forest based conflicts in Terai region of Nepal. The paper is based on a three-year action research carried out in Terai. Qualitative methods including participatory rural appraisal tools and documentation of engaged action and reflections were used. Methods and tools that largely fall under adaptive learning were deployed. The field data was complemented by review of secondary data and literature on environmental history of Terai. We found that policies on land and forest in Terai for the last fifty years have induced and aggravated conflicts over access and control between state and communities and also within diverse groups of local communities. These conflicts have had serious negative impacts on sustainable management of forests and on local people’s livelihoods, particularly resource poor and landless people. Centralised and bureaucratic approaches to control forest and encroachment have largely failed. Despite investing millions of Rupees in maintaining law and order in forestlands, the problem continues to worsen often at the cost of forests and local communities. We found that transferring management rights to local communities like landless and land poor in the form of community forestry (CF) has induced strong local level collective action in forest management and supported local livelihoods. Moreover, adding adaptive learning, as a methodological tool to improve governance and enhance local level collective action significantly improves the benefit of CF. It implies that a major rethinking is needed in the current policies that have often led to hostile relationships with the local inhabitants- particularly the illegal settlers. Instead, transferring forest rights to local communities and supporting them through technical aspects of forest management will strengthen local initiatives towards sustainable management of forests.&nbsp;</p> Prabin Bhusal Naya Sharma Paudel Anukram Adhikary Jisan Karki Kamal Bhandari Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Forest and Livelihood 2018-10-31 2018-10-31 16 1 15 34 10.3126/jfl.v16i1.22880 REDD+ and Community Forestry in Nepal: Strengthening or Paralysing Decentralised Governance? <p>At a time when community forestry has become a prominent mode of forest governance in many developing countries, REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest degradation) has emerged as a new conservation policy to contribute to climate change mitigation by incentivising such countries to conserve forest. While the proponents of REDD+ claim that it can help to strengthen decentralised forest governance through an increased flow of resources of fund and knowledge, the critics evince that there are negative consequences of REDD+ implementation to the decentralisation process, local control, and access to forests. Drawing on the ongoing engagement of the authors in the national REDD+ policy process and an ethnographic study of the REDD+ initiatives in Nepal, this paper demonstrates that REDD+ might paralyze Nepal’s long-standing community forestry policy rather than strengthening it. Findings show the instrumental use of participation in REDD+ policy development and limited representation of local voices in the policy processes. The piloting project implemented on community forestry suggest that REDD+, if implemented at full scale, can put new demand(s) to the long-standing community forestry policy and practices resulting in threatening of local uses of forests by smallholders. The implementation of REDD+ is likely to reshape community forest management practices driven from the priority of generating revenue which in turn undermines the need to manage forests to meet diverse needs of the smallholders. This analysis indicates the need for paying greater attention to represent local voices in developing national policies and programs, and align REDD+ objectives to the core principles of community forest management, local access, and control of forests.</p> Dil Khatri Gyanu Maskey Bikash Adhikari Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Forest and Livelihood 2018-10-31 2018-10-31 16 1 35 55 10.3126/jfl.v16i1.22881 Breaking the Bottleneck: Conflicts Metamorphosis of Chure Landscape Management in Federal Nepal <p><em>Chure </em>forests, which is one of the youngest and most fragile landscapes of Nepal, continue to be degraded due to resource exploitation and conflict over its management. This region is considered to be the lifeline to down-stream communities - mainly for water - while inhabiting millions of poor and rural people that depend on natural resources - especially forests commons. Government initiatives to manage <em>Chure </em>have escalated contestations in the recent years. Its decision to declare <em>Chure </em>landscape as ‘Environmental Protection Area’ manifests a protection-centric management approach. This research scrutinises the genesis of contestation on <em>Chure </em>management utilising three–elements of conflicts described by Brown <em>et al. </em>(2017). It analyses power–relation to demonstrate potential implications on <em>Chure </em>landscape management as well as conflict resolution options, in the changed political context of federal Nepal. Our research reveals that all stakeholders are well aware of the continuous degradation of <em>Chure </em>landscape and have agreed on discovering the common locus of sustainable management. However, the state-community contestation still persists due to divergent understandings of degradation. Despite multiple strands of management options, contextualised community-based approach still appears to be an appropriate option to solve this persistent contestation, building on the practices of community forestry and historic failures of top-down, protection-centric management practice. The newly elected provincial and local governments could further facilitate a more effective management of <em>Chure </em>landscape through resolving the contentious state-community conflict.</p> Bhola Bhattarai Dipak Bishwokarma Mathilde Legras Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Forest and Livelihood 2018-10-31 2018-10-31 16 1 71 86 10.3126/jfl.v16i1.22883 Pond Becomes a Lake: Challenges Posed by Climate Change in the Trans-Himalayan Regions of Nepal <p>Satellite images, repeated photography, temperature and precipitation data, and other proxy scientific evidences support the claim that climate is changing rapidly in Nepal, including in the Trans-Himalayan regions of the country. Climate change in the Trans-Himalayan region of Nepal is altering the existing relations of functional socio-ecological system for generations. This ethnographic assessment of Nhāson village looks at the disturbance posed by climate change to the social and ecological relationship in reference to livestock management practices. It focuses on two thematic areas of communities’ verbalisation of issues and challenges faced by the mountain herders in the climate change context. This paper is the product of ethnographic study between the years 2012 and 2014 in Nhāson. The locals’ attachment to environment and witnesses of change is capable of telling the story on the disturbance of climate change in the social and ecological systems, contextually. The stories gathered during walking, herding, travelling, watching and observing of the places are “real stories” with insights into the past climate variability and fluctuation which is critically valuable to understand the environmental phenomena at times when scientific evidences are not sufficient. Ethnographic study can contribute in documenting the place and cultural specific stories as a powerful evidence to climate change and its impact on grounded social and ecological systems.</p> Jiban Mani Poudel Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Forest and Livelihood 2018-10-31 2018-10-31 16 1 87 102 10.3126/jfl.v16i1.22884 Human-Elephant Conflict and Mitigation Measures in Jhapa District, Nepal <p>Asian elephants are the largest terrestrial animals that are highly threatened due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Human - Elephant Conflict (HEC) is a complex interaction between human and elephant, which represents detrimental impacts for both. The aim of this study was to explore HEC in terms of human casualties and injuries and crop and property damage in all the wards of Jalthal Village Development Committee of Jhapa district, Nepal. It also aimed at identifying the commonly practiced mitigation measures by the local people in the study area. For this study, 179 households were randomly selected for questionnaire surveys followed by 20 key informant interviews and 5 focus group discussions. Our study shows that the settlements located nearby the Jalthal forest had higher risks of elephant attacks. The crop damage was the most frequent damage in terms of HEC in the study area. Among the crops, paddy was the most damaged crop. Property damage was the second problem faced by the local people. However, there were no significant differences in crop and properties damaged by elephants among different socio-economic classes. The most commonly used mitigation measures adopted in the study area were shouting and use of fire but people were not satisfied with the present conflict management strategies due to their ineffectiveness. This study implies that the presence of resident wild elephant has increased the vulnerability of local people living around the Jalthal forest. Thus, detail study on the habitat assessment and seasonal movement patterns of resident herds in and around Jalthal forest area is required for proper planning and implementing suitable mitigation measures and habitat management activities.</p> Bijaya Neupane Subash Budhathoki Binod Khatiwoda Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Forest and Livelihood 2018-10-31 2018-10-31 16 1 103 112 10.3126/jfl.v16i1.22885 Pastoralism in Crisis: Mounting Challenges in Herding System in High Altitude Region of Nepal <p>&nbsp;This paper discusses on the mounting livelihoods challenges of high altitude region of Nepal driven largely by the growing conflict between pastoralists and community forestry (CF), and offers alternative pathways. The paper is based on a three-year action research using adap­tive learning as an approach to understanding conflicts between the herders and CF members and other challenges around high altitude herding. The paper also brings the case of Suspa- Kshamawati Kalinchowk region with pragmatic issues and concerns that need urgent action. In addition, we analyse information on CF and other pastureland, institutional arrangements of CFUG, analysis of herders’ livelihoods and review of policy process and relevant literature. The research shows that high altitude herding system has been facing several challenges with the con­flict between the CF and herders as the main challenge. The conflict with CF has posed extreme threats to the existence of herding system in the region. Similarly, challenges like declining avail­ability and access to quality pasture and hardship, and changing social values has contributed to decreasing herding number in recent years and has also put the unique transhumance livelihood activities in crisis. Finally, implications to policy and practice of CF and overall environmental governance are identified.</p> Prabin Bhusal Mani Ram Banjade Naya Sharma Paudel Copyright (c) 2019 Journal of Forest and Livelihood 2019-03-03 2019-03-03 16 1 56 70 10.3126/jfl.v16i1.22882