The participatory approach in management of forests is now well established in forest policies of many developing countries. Incentives for different groups to participate have been argued by many to be desirable characteristics to promote participation. A key challenge for government and donor agencies is to develop better understanding of the incentives for different groups to be able to achieve and sustain their participation. Based on a case study of a joint forest management (JFM) programme in the northern state of Haryana in India, this paper highlights the relevance of understanding people's perception of the incentives. It specifically examines three hypotheses related to perceptions of villagers about incentives offered under the JFM programme and relates them to their participation in joint management. It concludes that a better understanding is likely to help in improving project implementation at the local level and the design of participatory forest management programmes more generally.
International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 14: 532-542