Maoist Conflict, Community Forestry and Livelihoods: Pro-poor Innovations in Forest Management in Nepal
Keywords:community forestry, conflict, livelihoods, social inclusion, development
Violent conflicts are quite often perceived as a destructive and negative phenomenon, and there is little understanding of how they also offer opportunities for a positive change in the society. In particular, little is understood about how violent conflicts and development processes interact and create positive changes in local institutions and practices. This article focuses on such interactions observed amongst the Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) in the Koshi Hills of Nepal, as the Livelihoods and Forestry Programme (LFP) worked through the conflict period. It demonstrates that the Maoist conflict contributed in several ways to enhance the pro-poor outcomes of development actions. We show that the conflict helped empower the marginalised groups, improve their access to community resources, and bring about important changes within the local institutions and practices, contributing to equitable resource management. We suggest that there are positive sides of a violent conflict, where development interventions need to focus on. We also argue that development brings about equitable outcomes if it is complemented with local level advocacy in favour of the poor and marginalised groups.
Full text is available at the ForestAction website
Journal of Forest and Livelihood 8(2) February 2009 pp.93-100