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Policy implications for community-managed forestry in Cambodia from experts’ assessments and case studies of community forestry practice

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Abstract

Over the last 40 years, it has been shown at the global level that sustainable forestry can be achieved through comprehensive forest management, with the decentralized institutional arrangements of community-managed forestry coordinated by effective policy implementation. However, there is still a shortage of evidence regarding whether community-based forestry is well characterized by forest policies, assessing what action is most needed and how best to address the challenges faced by community-based forestry in halting deforestation and promoting rural livelihoods. The study analyzed experts’ assessments of the characteristics and success of community-managed forestry in Cambodia and explored three case studies of community-managed forestry practice to identify priorities for addressing forest policy implementation inadequacies in halting deforestation and promoting rural livelihoods. There were two methods of data collection. Firstly, this study used a survey of 27 experts to analyze perceptions about how far forest policy supported community-managed forestry effectively, the major challenges faced by the national community-managed forestry program, and the community-managed forestry contribution to halting deforestation and reducing rural poverty. Secondly, data was collected by content analysis of three case studies to explore the knowledge and practical experience of local experts about community-managed forestry practice at local level. The study employed Kendall’s Coefficient of Concordance to analyze the level of concordance of experts on related forest policies (n=15) considering community-managed forestry, the challenges faced by the national community-managed forestry program, and the actions required to enable community-managed forestry to support communities. Analysis revealed that experts were in moderate agreement, denoted by Kendall’s W=0.152, on how well forest policies articulate and implement the characteristics of community-managed forestry. Ranking of the major challenges faced by the national community-managed forestry program yielded Kendall’s W of 0.104, indicating the confidence in the ranking among experts was fair. There was only low confidence in the ranking of the action needed, with Kendall’s W of 0.055. Content analysis of the three case studies examining local experts’ opinions on the attributes of community-managed forestry concerning the access, local participation and protection of the sustainable forestry revealed that Attribute one ‘Local people have access to the forest land and forest resources’, and Attribute three ‘Local people begin by protecting and restoring the forests’, received high attention from local experts. Of lesser importance or agreement was attributing two: local participation in decision-making concerning the forest.

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Acknowledgements

This study was carried out with the support of R&D Program for Forest Science Technology (Project No. 2014068E101819AA03) provided by Korea Forest Service (Korea Forestry Promotion Institute). And the authors would like to thank ASEAN-ROCK Forest Cooperation (AFoCo) for providing a full PhD scholarship to the first author.

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Correspondence to Young Jin Lee.

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Policy implications for community-managed forestry in Cambodia from experts’ assessments and case studies of community forestry practice

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Nhem, S., Lee, Y.J. & Phin, S. Policy implications for community-managed forestry in Cambodia from experts’ assessments and case studies of community forestry practice. J. Mt. Sci. 15, 2531–2551 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-018-5021-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-018-5021-3

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