Ecosystem Services

Contribution of Community Forestry in Poverty Reduction: Case Study of Multiple Community Forests of Bajhang District, Nepal

  • Dhruba Bijaya G.C. 1, 2 ,
  • BHANDARI Jyoti 1, 2 ,
  • XU Zengrang 3 ,
  • LI Can , 1, *
  • 1. Provincial Key Laboratory for Rare Animals and Economic Insects of the mountains of Guizhou Province, School of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Guiyang College, Guiyang 550005, China
  • 2. Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University, Pokhara Campus 43, Pokhara, Nepal
  • 3. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
LI Can, E-mail:

Received date: 2019-08-30

  Accepted date: 2019-09-30

  Online published: 2019-12-09

Supported by

The Academician Workstation of Guiyang University, Guizhou Province([2019]5605)

The Regional First-class Discipline Construction of Guizhou Province to GYU([2017]85)

Provincial Key and Special Subject of Guizhou Province-Ecology(ZDXK[2015]11)

The Training Project for High-Level Innovative Talents in Guizhou Province(2016 [4020])


Copyright reserved © 2019


In Nepal, nearly half of the total land is covered by forest, which holds a potentially important position in promoting rural livelihoods and in alleviating rural poverty. The rural landscape that encompasses an agrarian economy, a fragile ecology, and a complex and differentiated society is changing rapidly in Nepal today. Although poverty alleviation has been one of the top priorities for national development since 1976, poverty still remains widespread, persistent and it is also an acute problem in Nepal, where people are in a state of deprivation with regard to incomes, clothing, housing, healthcare, education, sanitary facilities and human rights. Thus, Nepal is considered as one of the poorest countries in South-Asia, with 25.2% people living below the poverty line. The objective of this study was to assess changes in poverty of forest users brought on by the community forestry program, in order to analyze the level of participation in community forestry management activities. For this study, Bajhang district was chosen as the study site, which is one of the poorest and most remote districts in the country of Nepal. Different Participatory Rural Appraisal methods such as face-to face interviews, focus group discussions and key informants’ interviews including secondary data were used to gather information. The findings showed that the forest users’ participation in meetings, discussion and other activities, like community forestry management or silvicultural operation related to community forestry, was high. The assessment found that 42.3%, 32.6% and 25.1% of respondents strongly agreed, agreed and were neutral, respectively, towards the idea that poverty reduction from community forests had occurred. The results showed almost all the respondents were depended upon agriculture and/or forest resources for their livelihoods. Different ecosystem services such as ethnomedicines, aesthetic value and ecotourism, control of soil erosion/land-slides, water recharge and soil fertility have increased due to the decomposition of leaf litter. This was apparent from the formulation of community forests. Poverty in rural areas of the country is still higher than in urban areas and the incidence of poverty is the highest in the Far western Province where this research was conducted, Therefore, the government, policy makers and other stakeholders should work hand-in-hand to effectively reduce the poverty that persists in Nepal.

Cite this article

Dhruba Bijaya G.C. , BHANDARI Jyoti , XU Zengrang , LI Can . Contribution of Community Forestry in Poverty Reduction: Case Study of Multiple Community Forests of Bajhang District, Nepal[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2019 , 10(6) : 632 -640 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764X.2019.06.008

1 Introduction

Forests are emerging as a key arena of action for supporting livelihoods and conserving biodiversity (Cheng et al., 2017). Approximately 15.5% of global forestland is controlled for resources such as firewood, timber, recreation and other uses by nearly 1 billion local people (RRI, 2014) who reside in nearby areas surrounding the forests. In Nepal, different types of forestry support programs have been introduced by the Government of Nepal. Among them, Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) is one participatory model where Community Forestry (CF) has been the best practice model for sustaining livelihoods as well as conserving the forest resources. In the context of Nepal, this CF has become an indispensable part of the rural livelihoods because the rural farmers depend upon the forests for their daily needs, which include fuel wood, fodder, leaf litter for compost and fertilizer and lumber for construction purposes (Dhruba Bijaya et al., 2016). The Forest Act 1993 (Act, 1993) of Nepal defines Community Forestry as a part of the national forests which has been handed over to local user groups which are located near the forest and have been using the forest resources since time immortal, subject to specific rules and regulations for the conservation, management, development and utilization of these forest resources for collective benefits. According to the Department of Forests (DOF, 2018), at present across the country of Nepal, there are 22, 266 Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) which are able to manage a total area of about 22.37 million hectares of land involving almost 2.9 million households. The CFUGs are responsible for the management, utilization and protection of their community forests. Nepal uses wealth ranking in the CF program design and implementation, so that the poor people can get resources free of cost (DOF, 2014). Community Forest Development Guidelines (2014) (third revision) direct each CFUG to develop its own constitution and management plan (DOF, 2014), and thus the CFUGs have legal rights to collect, retain and redistribute the forest revenue of products from their respective community forests. CFUGs have become pivotal in the empowerment of local communities to manage the indicated forests in which all representatives from the different localities are included. But many studies in different CFs in Nepal, have shown that the flow and distribution of benefits from these CFs are still widening the gap between poor, disadvantaged Groups (DAGs) and the rich people who are involved in the management of these forest resources (Dhruba Bijaya et al., 2015).
Nepal is primarily an agrarian country. Poverty is a rampant problem among the farmers of Nepal because massive poverty exists in Nepal (Bharadwaj, 2012), and it is concentrated in the remote villages, uplands and mountains, and among the landless, Dalits (or Scheduled Castes) and small and marginal farmers (Dhruba Bijaya et al., 2015). The forest in Nepal has been restored at a rate of about 2% per year, whereas the population growth rate was 2.3% per year from 1990 to 2010 (Niraula et al., 2013). Farmers and craftsmen such as blacksmiths also need fuel wood, fodder, wood for tools and construction timber. The primary cooking fuel in the country is firewood, with 69% of the households using firewood as their main source, 61% of the households in Nepal collecting their firewood from both community managed forest and the government forests (Pokharel and Byrne, 2009), and 75% of the country’s households collecting fodder for feeding their cattle.
Conserving forests contributes to enhancing the welfare of the communities living close to the forests (Harbi et al., 2018) and thus it contributes to poverty reduction in developing countries such as Nepal. Still more than two-thirds of the population live and work in rural areas within subsistence agricultural economies in which forests are important assets (Luintel et al., 2018). The second-generation issues envisaged in community forestry are sustainable forest management, livelihood improvement and good forest governance. Livelihood improvement for poor households through different community forestry programs is a new concept, where the "resources" can be managed effectively with a clear understanding of forest management principles and knowledge of the natural system and the "social" part can be dealt with through a clear understanding of a society and their relationships with the resources in the institutions related to it.
With the help of CFs, many households have started small commercial enterprises, such as rearing goats, selling milk, providing veterinary services and selling veterinary products, beekeeping, vegetable farming and selling fruits and forage seeds for sustaining their livelihoods. The present study is an attempt to bridge the research gap on the link between forest resources, livelihood activities/household income and poverty in Nepal. This study contributes to our knowledge about the role of CF in livelihood improvements for reducing poverty in the Far-Western rural areas of Nepal. The paper concludes by highlighting some strategies for improving CF to more effectively overcome poverty.

2 Methodology

Bajhang is a hilly mountainous district in the Far Western province of Nepal. It extends over 29°29' to 30°9' Northern latitude and 80°46' to 81°34' eastern longitude. This district was chosen because it has community forests which have been managed by the rural people for more than three decades, and it is one of the poorest districts of Nepal with 56.8% of the people living below the poverty line (CBS, 2011). We have chosen different community forests from five different villages, namely Syandi, Rayal, Parakatne, Subeda and Rithapata for the study (Fig.1).

2.1 Data collection

The data were collected from a household survey and focus-group discussions, with the members of different community forest user groups in the study area. The questionnaires used were structured, semi-structured and open-ended as needed. A total of 300 households were surveyed but only 262 valid questionnaires were used for analysis. In addition, a key informants’ survey was conducted in this research.
Fig. 1 Map of the study area
Secondary data were collected from district profiles, village profiles, different published and unpublished journals and bulletins, forest office records, agencies working in livelihood sectors, users’ records, and other projects, as well as GOs, I/NGOs, and CBOs reports. The National Planning Commission, poverty alleviation fund, departments of forestry and other concerned organizations were also visited to collect secondary data.
Different wealth-rank groups show different levels of dependence on the forests due to their different livelihood activities and differential access to private resources. Medium, Poor and Ultra poor (Landless) groups are mostly dependent on the forests. The wealth ranking in Bajhang district, which was prepared by the District Forest Office1( District Forest Office, Bajhang. 2014. A report on community forests of Bajhang. Unpublished document in Nepali language.), Bajhang, classifies four ranks.
Rank A (Rich) which includes surplus production from its own land; at least one family member is engaged in a government job, business or other secure off-farm job with a good cash income, children attend private schools/colleges in towns, a high percentage of forest products is acquired from private forest, money is lent in the community and they act as elite leaders in the society. They commonly have private resources for supplying tree products. Hence, they are much less dependent on the forests for product flows, and are mainly interested in forests for construction timber.
Rank B (Middle) which includes sufficient food for 9-12 months with no surplus for sale; some households have access to off-farm income and send children to schools /colleges in nearby villages/towns; a moderate percentage of forest products is acquired from private forests, they engage in seasonal migration especially to India, take loans and rarely loan out to others. If the family is large, they may also rent or share the land of rich households, as they usually have a labor force (both manual and livestock). They tend to depend on the forests for fodder, fuel wood and timber, but they also have some private tree resources on their farmlands.
Rank C (Poor) which includes sufficient food only for 3-6 or even fewer months; in some cases, they don’t have any land and are mostly engaged in wage labor in the surrounding villages, they send their children to schools in the villages, acquire a relatively low percentage of forest products from private forests, take consumption loans and are mostly indebted. They mostly depend on seasonal agricultural labor/seasonal migration to India, and use pottering and other skills to supplement food production from their own land. Education levels are low, restricting their income-generating activities. They have little private access to tree products, and so they are often particularly dependent on the forests.
Rank D (Ultra-poor/Landless). They have no agricultural land for food production, although in some cases they have a house plot and small courtyard. They live in extreme poverty and depend on manual labor for income. Poor and Landless households often depend on the forest to support market-oriented activities such as selling firewood, distilling alcohol, charcoal for blacksmiths and other activities. Their livelihoods are extremely fragile and marginal. They are exposed to low levels of nutrition, poor education, and poor communication within the village and with external agents. They tend to be less involved in the FUG meetings, and suffer from social exclusion. But the resources they get from the forests are obtained free of cost for them.

2.2 Data analysis

Data were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The data collected during the field work were categorized into separate variables as required by the study objectives. The data were edited, coded, entered, and processed and analyzed using computer software packages such as Microsoft Excel 2010 and SPSS 20 (Statistical Package for Social Science). The quantitative data were analyzed using statistical tools including frequency distribution, mean, and others. Likewise, qualitative data were analyzed in descriptive ways and the findings are presented in tables, charts and figures.

3 Results

3.1 Socio-economic characteristics of the responents

Of those who were completely interviewed and responded (n=262), 73.30 % were men and 26.70% were women (Table 1). In the context of Nepal, and especially in the rural areas, the heads of households are mostly the men, and they are responsible for fulfilling most of the requirements in their households. The role of women in the study area is supplying water, collecting firewood, cooking, looking after the children, and carrying out other domestic affairs. The age of respondents ranged from 20 to 60 years, with a median age of about 40 years. Of the respondents, 79% were farmers and the remaining 21% included housewives, shopkeepers, students and job holders. Among respondents, 55% indicated no regular education. Those who have received primary, secondary, high school and university educational levels are very few; their percentages are 8.4%, 6.5%, 14.5%, and 18.7%, respectively.
Table 1 Socio-economic characteristics of the respondents (n=262)
Description Frequency Percentage Description Frequency Percentage
Age (years) Head of the family
<20 2 0.76 Respondent 180 68.7
20-40 144 54.97 Father 47 17.9
40-60 88 33.59 Mother 11 4.2
>60 28 10.68 Husband 24 9.2
Sex Caste
Male 192 73.30 Brahmin 30 11.5
Female 70 26.70 Chhetri 139 53.1
Education Disadvantaged groups (DAGs)# 93 35.5
Primary 22 8.4 Wealth status
Secondary 17 6.5 Rich 4 1.5
High School 38 14.5 Middle 24 9.2
University 49 18.7 Poor 234 89.3
Literate 37 14.1 Family members
Illiterate 99 37.8 <5 112 42.8
Occupation 5-10 130 49.6
Farmer 207 79 10-15 15 5.7
Housewife 11 4.2 >15 5 1.90
Shopkeeper 4 1.5
Student 26 9.9
Job holder 14 5.3

#Disadvantaged Groups (DAGs) —It means those groups of people who are deprived of using the resources from the forest.

Table 2 below shows the relationship between household resources and the livelihood strategies practiced by the households in the study area. Especially in the rural areas of Nepal, such livelihood strategies are very common.
Table 2 The characteristics of household resources, conditioning factors and livelihood strategies
Major household resources/endowments Conditioning/mediating factors Livelihood strategies
Agricultural land
• Labor power
• Draught power (oxen)
• Livestock
• Farm implements
• Common property
• Social capital
• Stores (seeds, food crops,
other reserves)
• Climate, especially rainfall condition
• Institutional and organizational factors (governing access to key assets, inputs, credit services, technical support)
• Population growth
• Infrastructure (road, market, irrigation water)
• Non-farm opportunities
• Market signals: input/output prices
• Human and livestock health
• Pests and diseases
• Socio-cultural factors (norms, values)
• Human security, law and order
Livelihood adaptation:
Use of
• Farm management practices:
soil and water conservation;
use of improved seeds,
organic, inorganic fertilizers,
pest control and other yield increasing techniques

• Crop choice and mix
Livelihood diversification:
• On-farm activities
• Off-farm activities
• Non-farm sources

3.2 Contribution of community forestry in poverty reduction

The contribution of community forests towards poverty reduction was measured in terms of perception using the Likert scale. It was found that 42.3%, 32.6% and 25.1% responded with strongly agree, agree and neutral, respectively, for the idea of poverty reduction from community forests, but nobody responded disagree or strongly disagree, which can be seen below in Table 3. These responses show that community forestry is really fruitful for the local users, especially the poor users, in improving their livelihoods. This study found that 90% of the respondents considered that 30% of the total income was generated from community forestry, while 85% of the respondents have developed positive attitudes towards community forestry because it supports fulfilling their basic needs and helps to reduce the poverty in the community.
Table 3 Respondents’ perceptions about whether community forest has contributed to poverty reduction
Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly disagree
42.3% 32.6% 25.1% - -
In the study site, each household was a member of the community forest near the house. In addition to the community forest, 20% of the respondents also had private forests from which they received firewood to cook and fodder/grassland for their animals. But the remaining 80% of the respondents had to depend upon the community forests for the forest products like firewood, grassland/fodder and timber for construction purposes. Also, some Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) were available for the users in small quantities. The most popular Non-Timber Forest Products were resin from different Pinus species, Chiraito (Swertia chiraita), Lokta (Daphne bholua), Majito (Rubia manjith), Guchchhi chyau (Morchella conica) and others. Promotion of herbal and non-timber forest products, soil conservation and biodiversity conservation were different pro-poor activities that were conducted in different community forests. Because of the conservation of soil, there was an increase in the forest products which the poor people could use.
The users of the community forests have agreed that these CFs have increased the employment in forest related business/industries. They have gained skills from the trainings/workshops offered by forestry related organizations which they could use in their daily life for improving their health, livelihood and the overall improvement of their poor conditions. Social Cohesion and a more vibrant working environment in the community were also developed. The community forestry had a medium contribution to the off-farm incomes for 79.4% of respondents, whereas 2.3% and 17.8% of respondents indicated high and low contributions to their off-farm incomes, respectively.

3.3 Income generating activities in community forestry

The Income Generation Activities (IGAs) were other activities from which the users could improve their livelihood. The main IGAs practiced were goat rearing, poultry, vegetable and fruit farming, and Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) cultivation. These IGAs were supported with the funds from the CF, but only 21.4% practiced IGAs whereas the remaining 78.6% did not practice them. The majority, 72.1%, responded that these IGAs were really beneficial to those poor people, whereas 21% responded that the IGAs were not beneficial and 6.9% respondents said the benefits to those poor people were unknown. Almost all of the respondents, 98.9%, indicated clear knowledge about the people depending upon agriculture and forest resources for their livelihood in their community where they used to live.

3.4 Supply of different forest products

3.4.1 Grasses/Fodder
Fodder, grass and straw were the main feeds for domestic animals, but the respondents had shortages of fodder, grass and straw as shown in Fig. 2.
Fig. 2 Respondents’ perceptions about the shortage of fodder, grass and straw
The extra straw needed could be bought from nearby villages and the prices ranged from NRs2(2 1USD=NRs. 114.36 (Exchange rate according to Nepal Rastra Bank on 2019-08-26).) 1000 to 2500 (depending on season and production amount) for one load (bhari3(3 bhari= 25-30 kg of straw or leaf litter for animal bedding.Shrestha, R. 1992. Agroecosystem of the mid-hills. In: Sustainable livestock production in the mountain agroecosystem of Nepal. FAO Animal Production and Health Paper 105.)) of straw. Most respondents, 61.8%, bought the straw from other farmers. The grass and fodder could be collected from either the community forest, private forest or other agricultural lands like irrigated and unirrigated lands, or abandoned farmlands used for grazing or other purposes. All the respondents expressed wanting to increase their livestock if they could get a regular supply of fodder and grass from their farmland and community forests. The extra amounts of fodder needed by the respondents during scarce seasons were: whole year (29.8%), six months (42.7%) and three months (22.9%) and the percentage that indicated their current supply of grass/fodder was enough for the whole year was just 4.6%. On the other hand, 54.2% of people responded that they could only manage to supply less than 10% of the fodder/grass from their farmland even after the next 10 years. Likewise, 39.3%, 5.3% and 1.2% responded that they could manage with the fodder/grass from the farmland as 10%-30%, 30%-50% and 50%-70%, respectively.
3.4.2 Firewood and timber
For the construction of houses or cow sheds, 20.2% of the users brought timber from the community forests within last 2-3 years, while 33.2% needed timber recently for the construction of their houses or cow sheds. Regarding proportions of timber used, 67.6%, 20.6%, 11.5% and 0.4% of users responded that the supply of timber from their farmland was either no timber at all, sufficient only to build one-third of a normal standard house, sufficient only to build half of a normal standard house, or sufficient only to build a normal standard house, respectively. As seen with fodder/grass, for timber production from their own land, 58% could produce less than 10%, 28.6% could produce only 10%-30%, 11.1% could produce 30%-50% and 52.3% could produce only 50%-70% of the timber needed in the future. Among respondents, 78.6%, 17.9% and 3.4% indicated that they fall into the medium, low and high categories of using the forest products from the community forests nearby. Most, 94.7% of respondents, faced firewood scarcity, so they had to depend upon the forest for firewood.
Box 1: A forest guard’s story: Community forestry helps to reduce seasonal migration to India.
Mr. Jeevan Bahadur Bohara, who is nearly 50, lives in Syandi village of Bithadchir Rural Municipality. He has seven members in his family: three sons, two daughters, himself and wife. His two daughters and two sons have already been married and the youngest son still lives with them. His living condition was bad so he had to migrate to India for seasonal work. After the implementation of CF in his village, he now works as a forest guard for the community forest. He has also started agroforestry on his farmland. In the CF, villagers are not allowed to graze cattle or goats in the forest, so they practice stall feeding these days. But instead he thinks that after the implementation of CF, the rural farmers can get firewood, fodder and some timber from the forest without paying any money. He has convinced us that biodiversity in the forest has increased after the CF was handed over to the local people. He further adds that now few people migrate to India for work, although one of his sons was still in India for labor work. He claimed that the fodder trees planted in his farm help to reduce the pressure on the forest and have produced enough fodder for his three cattle and two goats. He continued his story by adding that the legume fodder trees and grass species (such as Leucaena species) have increased the nitrogen content in the soil, and thus increased crop yields too. He said he learned this from the trainings and thus he planted those legume tree species. He gives all the credit to CF—because of CF he got this job, and has received different trainings about forest management and agroforestry from the district/divisional forests, Bajhang, as well as from other different non-governmental organizations. Finally, he concluded that this CF has played an important role in uplifting the livelihood and reducing the poverty in his village, so these days fewer people migrate to India!

3.5 Biodiversity conservation after the implementation of CF

Although in many parts of the world, conservation of the natural resources may not remain as important as improving the livelihoods of rural poor people, but in our study, it was reserved. There is no doubt that community forests have laid the foundation for biodiversity conservation by reversing the trend of deforestation and increasing regeneration. As seen in the field, to preserve the biodiversity in the CF the farmers have adopted different management practices such as selective plantation, conservation of wild animals, and construction of water storage ponds for wild animals especially in the dry seasons.
Fig. 3 The percentages of responses about increasing biodiversity due to CF
Table 4 Indicators of biodiversity and their frequency
Indicators of biodiversity Frequency
Plant richness/Vegetation abundance Increasing/high
Animal richness Medium
Soil fertility Medium to low
Topography Highly uneven
Water bodies Available somewhere
Timber extraction Low
Level of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) extraction Medium
Forestry, agriculture and climate change are interrelated processes as global warming is projected to have significant impacts on the production of forestry, as well as agricultural, products (Bhuju et al., 2010). In the field, it was seen that livelihoods based on natural assets, like farming and forestry, were the ones that were most severely affected by climate change.
The forest officers working in Bajhang agreed that different ecosystem services such as ethnomedicines, aesthetic values and ecotourism, control of soil erosion/land-slides, water recharge and soil fertility have increased due to the decomposition of leaf litter that they noticed with the increase of CF in the study area.

4 Discussion

Although community forestry is a participatory approach that aims to achieve sustainable forest management while also reducing poverty among rural communities, evidence of the impacts of community forestry programs from the developing countries on both forest conservation and poverty alleviation is scarce (Santika et al., 2019). The people left behind in rural villages often remain poor and have to struggle to meet their basic needs. However, the Community Forestry Program in Nepal has been a successful model for a participatory action-oriented approach, especially for environmental governance and community-based forest management in developing countries which encompasses well- defined policies, institutions and practices (Dhruba Bijaya et al., 2016). Nepal’s forest policies in recent years are gradually incorporating provisions to regulate the fund mobilization of CFUGs.
Fig. 4 The respondents’ perceptions towards the biodiversity conservation due to CF
Most users are marginal or small farmer families, whose own food production is only enough to feed their families for up to six months a year. Our results are consistent with those from the research conducted by (Chilongo, 2014) where he has found that firewood is the main source of cooking energy in Malawi (particularly in rural areas). Similarly, firewood was the main source of cooking energy in our study area. The crop pests, scant rainfall and drought were the hazards which occurred frequently and directly affected the livelihoods of rural households (Sujakhu et al., 2019). Giri and Ojha (2010) found that livelihood outcomes are unlikely to be generated automatically through improved participation and strengthened local institutions such as CFUGs.
Although the number and coverage of community forests have been increasing, limited information exists on biodiversity conservation in terms of species richness, taxonomic diversity, and crown coverage due to the lack of an in-depth studies and research (MOFSC, 2009). The income of the CFUGs in Nepal has been derived from the active management of the forest and commercialization of their forest products. Forests provide a variety of products to the households residing in and around them, and they are an important source of earning for millions of people around the world (Rahut et al., 2016). The CF in the study area also provided fodder, grass, timer, firewood and other resources for the users. Financial services to poor people, particularly those from rural areas, may help farmers to access new technologies and high yield varieties for improving agricultural production. The provision of financial services and products has trickle-down effects on the poor’s livelihoods (Dhakal, 2018) in the context of Nepal. Management and conservation of forest resources are perceived as important strengths by experts and community users since CF has been successful in improving the ecological conditions of the forests (Biendra et al., 2014) and, on the other hand, improving the livelihoods of the rural poor people.
Increases in CF have led to increases in the ecosystem services in our study area. This result was similar to that from research conducted by (Singh et al., 2018) in India. Protection of biodiversity must be based on a wide range of approaches which will benefit the forest conservation as well as help to improve the livelihood of those rural poor users who live in the vicinity of those CFs. As the forests in the hills of Nepal are said to be an integral part of the agriculture-based livelihood system, rural households have an abundance of natural and material assets which are beneficial to engagement in traditional agriculture, but the rural households are deficient in manpower, financial assets and social assets, conditions which go against modern agricultural production (Liu et al., 2018). CF aids in supplying forest products to meet the basic needs of local users while supporting community development through the creation of rural infrastructure (such as schools, road, irrigation channels and others), therefore, conservation of forest resources, basic needs fulfillment, and community development are tangible strengths of CF (Biendra et al., 2014). This result is very similar with our study results where the basic needs were fulfilled from the CF.
These findings indicate that management practices are dynamic and constantly adapting to conserve the biodiversity in the CF. It was evident in the field that farmers apply different knowledge and techniques to manage the flora and fauna species in their CFs in order to conserve biodiversity.

5 Conclusions

It is well-known to the Nepalese that Bajhang is a poor district, with 56.8% of people living below the poverty line and following after Bajura (64.1%) and Kalikot (57.9%), whereas the poverty rate of Nepal is only 25.2% (CBS, 2011), and the people in Bajhang are not unidimensionally, but rather multidimensionally, poor (G. C. et al., 2015). Most of the forests in developing countries are either state controlled (Agarwal et al., 2015) or communally managed. The community forestry program in Nepal is part of a worldwide trend toward forest devolution, which started four decades ago and provides legal opportunities for local communities to manage and use their forest resources.
The findings of the present study indicate that the forests which have been given back to the local communities to manage could help to reduce poverty, because this system helps to improve household incomes, livelihoods and living standard through different activities, like income generating activities and providing fodder, grass, timer, firewood and other resources for the users.
As young generations are abandoning rural communities to move into the cities to have a “better life”, training for farmers should be strengthened to build social networks, enhance financial support, increase farm household manpower, and increase social and financial assets, so that they can continue to reside in the rural areas. Poverty in rural areas of the country is still much higher than in urban areas, and the incidence of poverty is also the highest in the Far western Province where this research was conducted, so the government, policy makers and other stakeholders should work hand-in-hand to effectively reduce poverty in Nepal.
It is always necessary to develop a shared understanding of compatible conservation and development goals at various scales. To achieve this goal, the government and non-governmental organizations should join together with the local people of the study area. New research is always necessary to optimize the linkage between poverty and the other driving factors of poverty as the initial blue-print approach will simply not work without on-going refinement!

6 Recommendation

The local and provincial governments should review and revise forest laws and policies and land use plans that would help to uplift the livelihoods of the poor people. Implementation of laws by the government should also be intensified to protect forest resources as well as to obtain optimum use for the forest.
Farmers should be educated on the importance of community forests and proper land use planning through seminars, workshops, and symposia at local levels.
A large number of households of the study area had migrated from their villages because of declining productivity, as well as higher and immediate income from remittance. Therefore, policies should concentrate on optimizing the natural resources of this area.
There should be additional studies on adequate, accurate and continuous inventory of forest resources in the study area in order to understand the resource availability.
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