Non-state Actors in Forest Governance: Genesis, Status, Challenges and Way Forward

Tapan Kumar Nath*, Niaz Ahmed Khan, Abu S.M.G. Kibria, Uromi Manage Goodale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Non-state actors (NSA) have become increasingly important in forest management and governance but with strikingly limited research on this subject. Here, we critically review the historical evolution and roles of major NSA in forest governance in selected tropical countries identifying the major challenges regarding sustainable and effective engagement of NSA and suggest pathways for better utilization of NSA. Historical evolution of forest governance revealed that the nature and role of NSA have substantially changed over time and NSA has expanded and diversified since the late 1970s with the introduction of different forms of community-based forest management (CBFM) models. Nevertheless, due to challenges such as predominant revenue orientation of forest governance that overshadows effective participation of NSA in governance, tenurial uncertainty, dependence on external funds and facilitation, ad hoc and project-based nature of operation, and sustainability of the relevant institutions, the outcomes of CBFM were limited. We conclude our synthesis calling for stronger policy, financial, and procedural support that ensures effective collaborations and partnerships with NSA that can result in positive outcomes for forest conservation and improvement of forest dependent local peoples’ livelihoods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-239
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sustainable Forestry
Issue number3-5
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Natural resources
  • community forestry
  • land tenure
  • stakeholders
  • sustainable governance


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