Rethinking the participatory approach in community-based forest management to strengthen community sustainability in rural Bangladesh: a case study

Hassan, A B M Enamol (2018) Rethinking the participatory approach in community-based forest management to strengthen community sustainability in rural Bangladesh: a case study. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Community forestry, underpinned by decentralization policies, holds promise as a viable approach to forest conservation and community development. The rise of community forestry represents a means to address pressing environmental and economic issues such as deforestation, encroachment, and resource degradation. In theory, devolution or decentralization of rights, responsibilities, and authority from the state to forest communities should provide for increasing forest productivity, greater control over the resource, and more significant share of benefits. Subsequently, community forestry has become a popular concept in many countries of South Asia, Europe, and North America to ensure community sustainability in terms of environment, social, economic, and human capital aspects. Strategically, community forestry follows a robust participatory approach along with more integrated management processes. Consequently, community-based forest management (CBFM) strives to incorporate all stakeholders in participation and collaboration with a view to ensuring community existence and well-being of the local poorest people. Therefore, the general purpose of this research is to examin the integrating processes of stakeholders through participation and collaboration in communitybased forestry. In addition, I analyze issues of sustainability in communities and examine constraints that limit the processes of integration. I use a qualitative approach along with a case study as the strategy of inquiry in this research focusing on Comilla Sadar South Upazila (CSSU) located in Comilla district, Bangladesh. Data were collected through face to face interviews with semi-structured questionnaires and field notes following purposive sampling technique. The results of this study reveal that the main integration process in community forestry in CSSU are participation and collaboration. Hence, beneficiaries, Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD), and Union Parishad (UP) come together as leading actors through the participatory approach, but existing community forest management ignores the inclusion of NGOs and business entrepreneurs which are also main actors of this kind of integrated management process. However, BFD is working as the central administrative actor whereas beneficiaries work as a responsible actor to nurse and protect the forest resources. On the other hand, UP is pledged to provide various kinds of legal support in favor of community forestry. Furthermore, a significant number of respondents want to revive NGOs' involvement and to incorporate local business entrepreneurs in CBFM for logistic support. Stakeholders actively participate in CBFM in terms of sharing responsibilities like decision making, cost-sharing, motivation and coordination to make community forestry more efficacious. Furthermore, they collaborate with each other in maintaining communication, consensus building, and in learning processes that ensure accountability, equality, and efficiency. The practice of an integrated management approach contributes to community sustainability including environmental viability, stronger social networks, economic prosperity, and human capacity.While community forestry offers an alternative model of management, there are some crucial constraints that limit its success in Bangladesh, notably political influence, financial crisis, lack of professionalism, and syndicate culture. Nevertheless, the role of community forestry is praiseworthy in strengthening community sustainability.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 13511
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 163-207).
Keywords: Integration, Participation, Collaboration, Stakeholders, Community Sustainability
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Policy Institute
Date: July 2018
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Forest management -- Citizen participation -- Bangladesh; Forest management -- Social aspects -- Bangladesh

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