Over 2 billion people rely on forests for shelter, livelihoods, water, fuel and food security. An approximate 1 billion people depend directly on forests for their livelihoods. In many developing nations, forestry is the chief source of income for local communities.
With the rapid integration of global markets, it is now more important than ever to invest in locally controlled forestry and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to ensure that economic benefits from forests trickle down to the ground.
In Nepal we are handing over government forests to local users. Users have rights to manage and utilize forest products as per approval plan.
What makes the locally controlled forest business model interesting and worthy of greater recognition is that it is driven by local public interests that go far beyond the narrow bottom line.
Local people, living with the consequences of their land use decisions, are best placed to balance competing claims between local public goods (food, fuel, construction material, cosmetics, dyes, medicines, soil fertility, water flows etc.) and global public goods (carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation etc.) across rural landscapes.