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March 13th, 2012
Robust Method to Assess Impacts of Public Forest Policy Reform on Forest Based Communities

Due to lacking of robust methods the negative impacts of national and international policies of public forests are underestimated and misunderstood in many cases. The wrong information encouraged extension of window dressing and regressive forestry programmes for community development support and poverty alleviation. Recently a journal, Environmental and Resource Economics published an article titled “Socioeconomic Impacts of Public Forest Policies on Heterogeneous Agricultural Households. The article has described a research model to assess impacts of various public forest policies and identify the appropriate forest management models that benefit poor households in the forest based communities. It is an economic model of a typical small community of economically heterogeneous. The model incorporates a link between private agriculture, off-farm employment and public forest resources, and uses this link to assess the socioeconomic impacts of forest policies on different categories of households in the forest based communities. The method is tested on seven public forest policy scenarios. The finding shows that poorer category of households were much more marginalised than the less poor households by many of the forest policies. It also indicated that the forest management models currently recommended and promoted by development and research agencies are not the right ones to benefit the forest based communities and poor household group in particular. The study challenged conclusions of many previous studies. Uses of the method would provide better information for understanding of values of forest resources in livelihoods of forest based communities, and evidence whether commercialisation of forest resources of the land scarce communities would make really difference on socioeconomic status of the disadvantaged groups. The tool is powerful enough to assess the management options best for the forest based communities. The finding of the study may influence visions, values and decisions of genuine development and support agencies which are working to develop strategies for an international agenda to promote commercialization of products from community forests in order to contribute to socioeconomic development of forest based communities and national economic development. For further detail please visit the following website. http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&;id=doi:10.1007/s10640-012-9548-4