Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Natural Resources

Major Professor

Dayton M. Lambert

Committee Members

Christopher D. Clark, Donald G. Hodges, James A. Larson

Abstract

The dependency of Nepalese people for fuelwood, fodder and other forest resources led to deforestation of forest under the management of the Government of Nepal in the 1960s and 1970s. Community forests (CF) were established as a means to restore forest resources and proper management of forest use by the local people under their own management. The agrarian rural communities of Nepal across the different regions use forest products for household, energy and fodder purposes. Labor allocation for forest resource collection, household dependency on forest resources and the role of women regarding management and decision making in CF activities are analyzed in this dissertation. The findings of this study will help inform policy at regional levels regarding afforestation, improving livelihoods and well-being, and changing attitudes toward the role of women in rural Nepal.

The market prices of fuelwood and fodder collected from CFs in Nepal are used to impute revenue from their collection and the labor productivity by rural households using CFs. Regression analysis suggests that locational and seasonal variation in labor productivity and revenue generation characterized the surveyed households. Relative income earned by rural households from the collection of forest resources in terms of total household income is defined as a component of dependency and regressed on household demographic variables. The rural communities in the Terai region of Nepal are more dependent on CF for fuelwood and firewood collection compared to households in the Hilly region of Nepal. Livestock owned by respondents was positively associated with forest dependency while land holdings, distance (travel time) to the nearest CF, and private tree ownership (e.g., plantation) were negatively related with household dependency on CF.

Ordered logit regression analysis of Likert scale responses regarding role of women in CF management and decision-making activities were also analyzed. Regional and caste differences were observed in terms of the attitudes/perceptions of surveyed household members. Extension activities and other policies focusing on the importance of women in resource management can benefit from the present study.

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