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Title: Forest resource access : livelihoods and adaptations to forest conversion in Nepal's Terai
Author: Karna, Akhileshwar Lall
ISNI:       0000 0004 2672 5528
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2008
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Most of Nepal's rural population use timber, fuel wood, fodder, and non-timber forest products for their subsistence. However, the state and ruling elites have been exploiting forests in order to generate funds and resources to maintain their power by distributing them to royal relatives, high-ranking officials, political supporters and hill migrants throughout Nepal's Tarai. The growing population and rate of migration from the hills to the Tarai have put considerable pressure on the Tarai forests, resulting in the conversion of forest into agricultural land and causing environmental degradation. This thesis presents detailed qualitative and quantitative research findings from an empirical study in Bara district in the Tarai to develop clear understanding of the complexities of the social situation and the dynamics of how different groups' livelihood use of forests has been affected by rapid forest conversion. It also examines the diversity of responses of both socio-economic and institutional adaptation in the wake of forest decline and scarcity of forest products, with a specific focus on the coping strategies of the Tarai's indigenous people. A critical analysis is presented of how the poorest, who are most dependent on forest resources, have been most negatively affected by access restrictions to government managed forests, community forests, collaborative forest management and private forests. The varying impacts of access regimes on households located at different distances from the forest are presented to show the current limitations of both 'community forestry' and 'collaborative forestry' policies. This thesis illustrates how community forestry and collaborative forest management are not unproblematic when mediated by Nepal's complex caste, class and power relations. The evidence presented shows how the existing systems fall short of this. The study contributes to the growing body of literature that examines the ways in which local populations have been excluded from their traditional use-rights to forest resources, and explains how state-led policies and practices are biased in favour of elites. The roots of the problem are found to be government policies that lack a propoor orientation and local elites who create opportunities for themselves at the expense of the poor.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available