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Sunday, 20 November 2016
Key factors which influence the success of community forestry in developing countries
Published Date November 2015, Vol.35:226–238, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.09.011 Author
Jack Baynes a,,
John Herbohn a
Carl Smith b
Robert Fisher c,d
David Bray e
aTropical Forests and People Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore 4558, Australia
bSchool of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia 4072, Australia
cTropical Forests and People Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore 4558, Australia
dFaculty of Science, University of Sydney, Australia
eDepartment of Environmental Studies, Florida International University, USA
Received 27 January 2015. Revised 20 August 2015. Accepted 11 September 2015. Available online 24 September 2015.
We review the reasons for the success of community forestry in developing countries.
Success is influenced by complex causal relationships between five key factors.
Bridging and bonding social capital are critical mediating influences.
While community forestry has shown promise to reduce rural poverty, improve reforestation and potentially offset carbon emissions, many projects have failed, either partly or completely. In order to understand why community forestry succeeds or fails, we examined in detail the literature related to community forestry from three countries, Mexico, Nepal and the Philippines. We also drew on experiences in other countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. We identified five main interconnected factors which the literature suggests are often critical to the success of community forestry. To integrate the many ways in which community forestry projects can improve the state of these factors, we use the concept of ‘bonding social capital’, i.e. communities’ ability to work together towards a common aim and ‘bridging social capital’, i.e. their ability to liaise with the outside world. To understand the interaction of the five success factors and the way in which improvements to bonding or bridging social capital may affect them, we developed a causal diagram which depicts the interrelationships between the success factors and the key points at which project inputs may be best applied. It is clear from our analysis that failing to appreciate both the complexity and interaction of the various influences may lead to project failure.