Stakeholder opinions on scientific forest management policy implementation in Nepal.
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Despite its widespread recognition as a successful model of participatory forest management, the community forestry program in Nepal is often criticized for its protection-oriented emphasis. Recognizing the need for more active timber management, the government of Nepal recently adopted a scientific forest management (SFM) policy in the lowland tropical region. In this study, strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat analytical hierarchical process criteria were employed to understand stakeholder perceptions concerning SFM implementation in Nepal. The overall perception was prioritized in the order of strengths (35%), threats (28%), opportunities (22%), and weaknesses (16%). The study results suggest that there is agreement among stakeholders regarding the need for active management of forests in the tropical lowland region. However, the perceptions of academic researchers and non-government organization professionals differed from those of the other stakeholders in that those two groups were more concerned about potential corruption and uncertainties surrounding policy and legal issues. The findings suggest that the long-term success of SFM may depend on the ability of the government to develop a mechanism that is transparent and capable of ensuring equitable benefit sharing among stakeholders. While the stakeholder perception analysis performed in this study was focused on SFM implementation in Nepal, the results could have implications for other countries that practice the participatory model of forest governance as well.