Local Participation as An Effective Means of Enhancing Sense of Ownership in Forest Management: The Case of Jello Forest, West Hararghe Zone, Oromia Regional State

Mufedei Mohammed Kasim


Alienating forest dependent communities from forest by depriving them of the right to use forest resource is what widely accepted over recent years as a major factor in conditioning local communities to develop feelings of hostility towards the forest; and push them to destroy the forest resource irresponsibly. This consideration was lied the foundation for new development in forest management known as participatory forest management (PFM).This form of forest management through local participation is a phenomenon that emerged over recent decades as a remedial measure to the old (top down) form of forest management. One of the core concepts in this Participatory forest management (PFM) is improving local community’s sense of ownership toward the forest by empowering them as both developer and beneficiaries of forest resources. Taking local participation as fundamental principle of PFM approach, this research was under taken on Jello forest with the objective of studying local communities’ participation, attitude towards the new approach (PFM) and improvements in their sense of ownership toward the forest. A total of 172 sampled respondents were randomly selected from both non-PFM and PFM member households. Data were collected from sampled households using Household survey questionnaire, key informant interview and focus group discussion. Qualitative data were analyzed using content and discourse analyses; whereas quantitative data were analyzed by descriptive statistics using R-statistical software. Accordingly the result of household survey, focus group discussion and key informant interview were revealed that local communities participation in forest management have improved under the newly introduced forest management system (PFM). The study further revealed that local communities have positive attitude towards PFM and also their sense of ownership toward the forest has significantly improved. About 70% of non- PFM and 85% of PFM members were strongly agreed that the establishment of PFM has improved communities’ participation in forest management. Based on the findings of this study it could be concluded that PFM is effective in improving local community’s participation and sense of ownership towards the forest.

Keywords: Participatory Forest management, Sense of Ownership, participation,    Sustainable development, Jello Forest.

DOI: 10.7176/JRDM/61-01

Publication date: November 30th 2019

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