2016 Student Research Conference:
29th Annual Student Research Conference

Community Forestry in Bhutan: Perceptions and Realities
Bradly S. Thornton
Prof. Hemanta Kafley (School for Field Studies / University of Missouri) and Dr. Stephen Hudman, Faculty Mentors

The goal of Community Forest (CF) management in Bhutan is to conserve forest resources and support local livelihoods. We studied three Community Forest Management Groups (CFMGs) to assess how well CFs meet this goal, utilizing participatory interviews and biodiversity characterization. A majority of respondents perceive CFs to be better than government and private forests, although responses varied between CFMGs. The floral diversity assessment found species richness to increase with decreasing canopy cover closer to the villages indicating a potential relationship between CF management practices and increased species richness. Camera trap data confirmed survey responses that deer and wild boar can be frequently sighted within the forest. Occupancy modeling indicates an increased potential for human-wildlife conflict along the edge of the forest near fields and pastures. We conclude that CFs enable communities to support livelihoods through increases in capital, support local flora and faunal diversity, and contribute to national conservation goals.

Keywords: Community Forestry, Bhutan, biodiversity, livelihoods, Himalayas

Topic(s):Environmental Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: -1
Location: MG 1096
Time: 2:30

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