Taking migration seriously: what are the implications for gender and community forestry?

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The growing ‘multilocality' of rural households and livelihoods, prompted by globalization and the expansion of markets, is likely to have profound effects on who governs forests and how forests are governed, and the consequences for people and forests. Case studies of two Nepalese villages having different migration patterns and social structures show that forest governance has been feminized in one village and become entrenched and further male dominated in another. Policies and policy-oriented literature on forestry rarely take into account the changes taking place in how rural livelihoods are earned and how gender dynamics are altering. A dialogue among all stakeholders should take place to identify the opportunities and challenges of governing forests in the context of multilocal livelihoods. This also necessitates empowering local frontline agents to negotiate for greater participation of women, a broader re-orientation within forest bureaucracies on gender issues and acknowledgement of the importance of embracing participatory approaches in practice.

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