Community forestry in Bhutan contributes to poverty reduction while maintaining the sustainability of the resources (2007)

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Community Forestry (CF) in Bhutan started to take off in 2000. As of June 2007, 46 community forests had been approved covering about 4,200 hectares with 2,192 households involved. With the potential to reach 69% of the population (about 95,000 rural households) it has great potential for livelihood improvement. By law the rural population already has access to construction timber and fuelwood against subsidised rates (so-called rural timber supply), but with CF the communities are allowed to sell excess products (both wood and nonwood) as the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules, 2006 created an enabling environment to sell excess products. CF also makes timber for own consumption more easily available as no permits are required after the management plans have been approved.

The sale of excess nonwood forest products (NWFPs) from CFs started a few years ago and the number of community forests selling NWFPs is increasing. In late 2007, the first excess timber from two CFs was sold. This shows the benefits and also the potential of how CF contributes to poverty reduction as communities receive income from it.

Several communities have the management rights over their NWFPs and thus also the right to sell these products to “outsiders,” thus creating income for the community forest members. Several initiatives have started to establish small-scale enterprises to either produce or sell products in an organized way so communities can benefit even more.

The establishment of small-scale forest enterprises is facilitated through in-service training. The establishment of the Community Forestry Management Group also makes the group stronger and enables the group to have a stronger voice in the local discussion forum and speak out for its own development (empowerment). Several examples of this empowerment can already be seen.
Language: English
Imprint: Proceedings: International Conference on Poverty Reduction and Forests, Bangkok,<br /> September, 2007: 2007
Series: Workshop proceedings,