Community forestry development in Bhutan : new practice or another bandwagon ; a case study of three community forestry pilot projects
About 85% of Bhutan's population live within the biomass-based subsistence economy. With increasing population (3.1% per annum), coupled with the rising expectation, the demand for all forms of wood-based products and services will continue to increase. However the country is well endowed with forests, currently with 72% of land under forest cover (LUPP, 1995) and has sufficient capacity to meet the local demand for some time. But, for how long? With the gradual degradation and depletion of forest resources in the vicinity of populated centres, localized aggravated shortages, mainly firewood, is being felt by a growing number of rural people. Therefore, conserving and restoring the productivity of natural forest ecosystems and ensuring that the forest resources are available within economic distance to rural communities is a major strategic planning requirement. Today, community forestry is identified as a viable strategy to local forest resource management. This dissertation is an attempt to look into the legal perspective of community forest development in Bhutan in conjunction to the three pilot projects. A comparative studies of the three projects and their summary of findings are given with recommendation for future development.