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Forests and Poverty Reduction



In his seminar entitled Forest Conservation and Poverty Reduction at Resources Himalaya Foundation, Dr. Robert Fisher from the University of Sydney, who has worked considerably in Nepal and other countries, said that it is important not to confuse income with poverty reduction. He elaborated that poverty reduction through use is incompatible with biodiversity (forest) conservation and much of the literature is concerned with looking for causal relationships. As integrated approaches may imply “win-win” situation, he suggested that often trade-offs are unavoidable (“win-more lose less”). Thus, they are essential if equity arguments are to be accepted.

Also, conservationists and development practitioners must look for best possible outcomes rather than perfect outcomes, cautioning “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  As institutions, tenure, market factors affect outcome, he preferred to call them together a “black box” to address barriers which are often external to a specific site – whereas projects operate at a site level. Furthermore, it will be a mistake to concentrate only on synergies or conflicts. As community forestry constitutes negotiated landscapes, restoration of any given landscape in the Himalayas, is a social construct.