This study aimed to develop an economic methodology, usable by Forest User Groups (FUGs), for increasing equity transparency in community forestry in Nepal. Difficulties in developing a truly participatory approach led to a switch from the use of small key informant groups to the use of a household survey. Although more replicable, cost-effective and reliable for economic data, this reduced FUG ownership and empowerment. A main indicator for inequity was labor collection time: the return per labor day rose with the wealth group, reflecting shorter distances to collect forest products and more on-farm tree resources among the wealthier households. It is suggested that a suitable equity indicator to act as a proxy for the more complex economic indicators, and which could be more easily collected in a participatory way, is the time needed (average hours per day) to collect a bundle of subsistence forest products per unit of household demand (a composite of livestock ownership and household size). A gender-based equity indicator would be the number of female hours per day. Livestock ownership and household size should be a sufficient proxy for use levels.
RICHARDS, M., MAHARJAN, M. AND KANEL, K. (2003). Economics, poverty and transparency: measuring equity in forest user groups. Journal of Forest and Livelihood. 3. (1). pp. 91-104.