Environmental Conservation Interventions and Local Actors; Community forest policies at the confluence of global narratives and the livelihoods of local Chepang

by Silas Neil Tashi

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Environment; Conservation; Development; Intervention; Community Forestry; Policy; Nepal; Chepang
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2066486
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/27590


The promise of centrifugal developments in forest-management policies indicates the administration’s willingness to cede some authority to the peripheral actors. These developments are conveniently occurring at a time when the world is increasingly becoming aware of the environmental destruction caused by man, most recently evident in the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the Goals are merely a continuation of the narrative advancing environmental conservation as a liaison between development programmes and the market economy. Consequently, developing nations are turned into arenas where conservation initiatives are applied in exchange for donor funds. At the behest of the dominant environmental discourse, national governments in developing states are intensifying efforts to meet conservation targets. Ultimately it is the local actors who are having to readjust their lives to adapt to the interventions. In Nepal, community forestry has been heralded as taking decision-making power away from the central Government and placing the local users in charge of their own affairs. The policies give the impression that rural communities are entrusted to supervise their forests independently of the Government of Nepal. However the interventions are posing new challenges for local actors, who are being held accountable for meeting conservation goals, while simultaneously being constrained in maintaining customary practices and facing territorial disputes with contiguous community forests. For indigenous communities like the Chepang, who have been traditionally marginalised by society and customarily depended on the forests, these interventions are exacerbating their situation. This research aims to probe the interfaces at which the Chepang encounter forest management policies while determining, in the process, whether the global conservation movement is pressurising the Chepang or alleviating their plight. Advisors/Committee Members: Casse, Thorkil (advisor).