1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Could community forestry reverse deforestation?

Louise OsborneAugust 6, 2013

Community forestry has been one of the solutions promoted by international agencies to help solve the problem of deforestation in Myanmar. Could it work?


Community forestry involves handing over parts of the forest land over to villagers to run for common grazing, agriculture and to harvest timber sustainably.

Around 200 to 300 groups have been set up in Myanmar since the implementation of the Community Forestry Instruction in 1995, a slow start for the program, says Oliver Springate-Baginski, who specializes in forest governance reform in developing countries at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

“It’s quite expensive to do the paperwork and the bureaucracy and there’s not much incentive for the government to give away land,” he said. “[But] I think there are a lot of villages where communities have [unofficially] asserted control and tried to run it, or they’ve applied for official ownership and it hasn’t been approved yet.”

Community forestry has been successful in Nepal, he added, where around 25 percent of the forest land is managed by the community.

In Myanmar, community forest management has been shown to regenerate the forest across “virtually all villages” where it is implemented, according to a paper put together by Springate-Baginski in 2011.