In Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, we surveyed 80 households to observe the effects of participatory forestry (PF) on the livelihood of local participants. We analyzed the effects on livelihood capitals to compare in two ways: (1) before and after participation, and (2) participants and non-participants. In Cox's Bazar, there were some significant changes regarding income sources, but annual income was little changed after participation in participatory forestry. Literacy (about 10 % after participation) and mobile phone ownership (75 %) were significantly higher than before. Housing conditions were better (brick walls: 7.5 %; sun-grass roof: 70 %) than those of non-participants (brick walls: 0 %; sun-grass roof: 77.5 %). PF ensured legal rights on forest lands for participants, while non-participants were illegally living on public forestland. However, expenses were considerably higher than income; people were still struggling with poverty and many of them suffered from malnutrition. This ultimately put pressure on all capital. People had redistributed their available capital to cope with adversity, and there was a trend toward involvement in economic activities other than forests. Our study found that social capital was more influenced by PF more than other capitals. Due to the involvement with the PF program, people were feeling much more secure, women had elevated status, and social relationships became stronger.
ASJC Scopus subject areas