Drawing on primary data from community forest user groups (CFUGs) in two Districts of the West Central Terai of Nepal this paper develops a broad analytical framework identifying key factors that may contribute to building understanding of how CFUGs function and what the likely outcomes of that process might be. We argue that there is strong evidence that in practice the external environment greatly restricts the room for manoeuvre of CFUGs and that there is a major disjuncture between the rhetoric of CFUG formation and the reality of CFUG operations. The analysis and the framework identify the crucial role of forest value in driving perverse outcomes that limit the prospects for establishing effective and equitable CFUGs and provides strong evidence of the policies of CFUGs (access restrictions, price of membership and mechanisms for product allocation) being insensitive to the livelihoods of the poor and causing distributional bias.
Chhetry, B.; Francis, P.; Gurung, M.; Iversen, V.; Kafle, G.; Pain, A.; Seeley, J. A framework for the analysis of community forestry performance in the Terai. Journal of Forest and Livelihood (2005) 4 (2) 1-16.