Title: Changes and Challenges of Community Forest Practices in Forest-Dependent Communities in Kachin State
Author: Theera Wanasanpraikhieo
Keywords: KACHIN/ COMMUNITY FOREST/ COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT/ LOGGING
This paper examines the changes and challenges faced by traditional community forest management systems under the changing political and socio-economic conditions in the post conflict areas along the Myanmar/China Border administered by the Kachin Independence Organization (KI0). This research investigates the development and current state of the forest management practices of Forest-Dependent Communities in the Sin Lum Mountain range of Bhamo District, Kachin State, Myanmar. The research focuses on the livelihood challenges these communities face in the political and socio-economic environment since the 1994 ceasefire agreement between the Burmese Junta and the Kachin Independence Organization. This paper discusses the different approaches and projects introduced to Forest-Dependent Communities by different stakeholders under the name of development during this period, how these communities have fared under these development schemes, and the role of local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in this process. This research uses a Participatory Rural Appraisal methodology to investigate the variety of ways that local people have responded to the changes and challenges which have impacted their livelihood and natural environment. Extensive interviews with key informants and focus group discussions formed the core of this methodology.
The study found that Challenges faced by local communities arising from a) 441 exchanging natural resources for rapid development, b) Cross-border trade under the expansion of market driven economy, c) top-down urbanization plan, d) the change to modern agriculture, e) the influence of private sector, and f) local people's limited access to the forest resources.
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