Even though many forest villagers have been living on forest department land and serving the department in the northeastern hill forests region of Bangladesh since the early 1950s, their livelihood has not yet been fully explored. This paper examines the livelihoods of forest villagers (Khasia ethnic people) and their contribution to forest conservation, using data from the Sylhet forest division. The forest villagers are well-endowed with all the elements of a sustainable livelihoods framework, though human capital in terms of education is not satisfactory. Strong social capital, stable natural capital and a productive market-oriented agroforestry system facilitate the generation of financial and physical capital that make the livelihoods of Khasia people sustainable. At the same time, their reciprocal contributions in terms of forest protection and plantation development support forest conservation. However, some institutional issues such as insecure land tenure with regular agreement renewal problems need to be resolved for the sake of their livelihoods and forest conservation. Lessons learned from the study can be utilized in formulating future participatory forest management schemes in the country.
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