Enhancing livelihoods through improved forest management in Nepal

Project code
AUD 2,700,002
Research program manager
Dr Nora Devoe
Project leader
Ian Nuberg
Commissioned organisation
The University of Adelaide
JUL 2018
JUN 2024
Project status
Legally committed/Active
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This project aims to enhance forest management practices in community forests and private land to improve livelihoods, social equity and environmental impacts. 

Nepal’s Middle Hills are home to 44 per cent of the country’s population, with more than two-thirds relying on a combination of agriculture and forest products for their livelihoods. 

A quarter of forest lands have been handed over to 19,000 Community Forest User Groups under a Nepali national program. But the management of community forests and associated agricultural systems in the Middle Hills is sub-optimal and the Government of Nepal would like to see greater wealth being generated. 

Livelihood opportunities remain limited and food insecurity is widespread as a result. Underlying these problems are inequitable planning and governance; gender inequities in decision-making; and an emphasis on the protection of forest products.  

Expected outcomes

  • Greater application of Active and Equitable Forest Management in Nepal’s community forests, leading to significantly increased incomes for local communities from sale of forest products.
  • Enhanced silviculture skills of government foresters/technicians being used to provide institutional support for silviculture practice.
  • Men, women and poor households having enhanced skills in managing local forest enterprises.
  • Framework for pro-poor and gender equitable governance being used to enhance effectiveness of Nepal’s community forests.

Summary of outcomes to date


  • Cluster level CF governance and planning mechanism: EnLiFT2 facilitated, and supported, the formation of an entity comprising local government, DFO, FECOFUN, CFUG, leasehold forestry groups, and private forest owners, to institutionalise a cluster level governance and planning mechanism in Kavre and Sindhupalchowk. The main objective of this mechanism is to:  i) reduce transaction costs of supplying forest products; ii) design and enforce service provisioning at the local level; iii) increase the bargaining power of local user group members; iv) establish a community-public-private partnership model; and v) establish a knowledge-sharing and exchange forum.
  • Report launched: ‘Revitalising community forestry in the changing socio-economic context of Nepal’ report launched by the Secretary of Ministry of Forests and Environment and H.E Ambassador of Australia, Ms. Felicity Volk, in Kathmandu. The report presents nine separate chapters encompassing different dimensions of community forestry including silviculture, enterprise, governance and institutions, policy, and climate change among others in addition to laying out future directions to revitalising CF in the changing socio-economic condition of the country.
  • National CF workshop: EnLiFT2 team members were involved in the overall organization of the 7th National Community Forestry Workshop (12-14 June 2022). In addition to supporting the organizing of the workshop, EnLiFT2 researchers presented research papers, moderated a panel discussion, participated as a presenter in a panel discussion, organized a side event (where posters of EnLiFT2 activities were presented), and supported in the reporting of the three-day event.
  • Testing of portable saw mill: A three-day testing and demonstration of a portable saw mill was held in April 2022 to test the technical, economic and social performance of the mill. The technology largely proved to be a very useful intervention for on-site milling in Nepalese hills where transporting logs to nearby towns for sawing has been costly. The next step is working towards assessing regulatory and institutional strategy for its wider scale out.
  • Power chainsaw training: A two-day refresher training on chain saw operation was conducted on 16 February 2022. Local youths who have been using chain saws and relevant forest technicians from both districts (nine in total) benefited from it. Introduction of these chain saws has substantially reduced the cost of tree felling including the loss of wood. The training has helped strengthen the efficiency, safety and confidence of forest technicians.   
  • Khasru trial plots: Four khasru (Quercus semecarpifolia) research plots were established in Kalopani community forest, Bethanchowk rural municipality. Khasru is the major fodder tree species which substantially contributes to the emerging dairy enterprises of CF members in the area. The trial is aimed at enhancing the productivity of khasru.
  • Nursery training: A five-day nursery training on quality seedling production was held, in which 20 nursery managers and forest technicians representing the government, community and private nursery benefited. 
  • Nursery certification: A national nursery standardisation and certification process has been initiated in partnership with FRTC. A draft manual with standards and criteria and proposed institutional mechanism has been prepared and is under review. After review, it will be refined, shared among stakeholders and submitted to the FRTC for its formalisation process. This initiative will be a game-changer in nursery management and will facilitate promotion of private nurseries in the country.
  • Gender training: Four two-day training sessions on introductory issues of gender in forestry were conducted with women leaders of 30+ CFUGs in Bhumlu and Chautara. These trainings remained very instrumental in bringing women leaders to the forefronts of not only CFUG activities but also cluster-level institutional processes. 
  • Forest fire training: Two 2-day training on forest fire was organised one in each cluster for the CFUG leaders and members of 30+ CFUGs. Both of our clusters are experiencing heavy forest fires every spring that destroys felled and piled logs, new regeneration, and even the standing trees. These training are expected to develop basic awareness, some core skills and also develop workable mechanisms at CFUG level and cluster level to prevent, manage and mitigate the effects of forest fire.
  • Second phase interviews: with forest-based entrepreneurs based in Kavre and Sindhupalchowk were conducted. Four categories of interviewees were involved - farmers and CFUG members; local traders (at district level); sawmill operators; and DFO staff. The primary purpose of the interviews was to have a better understanding of opportunities and challenges in the value chain of timber trade. In addition, a regulatory framework that facilitates, and/or hinders the supply chain of timber was also assessed.
  • Tole-level planning: Seven Tole-level planning meetings were held in two CFUGs in two clusters. Each CFUG has several toles which are the primary units of CF planning and implementation. Apart from bottom-up planning, these meetings help improve CFUG governance and performance. The Tole-level planning meetings are also an important source of qualitative data on governance, institutions and enterprises.  
  • Advancing research -policy interface methodology in the new federal governance context: EPPL methodology is being further advanced involving local and provincial government agencies, vis-à-vis local communities and small scale forest entrepreneurs to stimulate new policy options based on EnLIFT’s participatory research. More recent adaptations of the methodology include: i) organising structured sites visits of the policy makers and creating situations for researcher facilitated informal conversations between policy makers local communities and small forest enterprises; ii) adapting EPL type of policy dialogue models in the government led community forestry conference at the national level; iii) engaging University faculty and a post graduate student in EPPL process.


Key partners
Department of Forest Research and Survey Nepal
Department of Forests
ForestAction Nepal
Nepal Agroforestry Foundation
University of Adelaide
University of New South Wales
fact sheet placeholder image
Fact sheet FST/2017/037