ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Equipping poor people for climate change: Can community forestry be a pro-poor adaptation strategy for rural communities in Nepal? (2011- 2014)

ILWS Strategic Research Area: Improving Rural Livelihoods and Environments in Developing Countries

Australian Post-graduate Award (APA), International Post-graduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) and ILWS top-ups scholarship

Investigators/ Researchers
Popular Gentle (PhD student)  Supervisors: Dr Rik Thwaites (principal), Dr Digby Race (CSIRO) and Dr Kim Alexander (University of Wollongong)


This research examines the influence of climate change on livelihoods of rural communities in Nepal, factors influencing vulnerability to climate change, and the role of Community Forestry in supporting local communities to develop their (pro-poor) climate change adaptation responses. The research explores:

  • what are the impacts of climate change for different well-being groups in rural communities of Nepal?
  •  what are the current climate change adaptation practices (responses) by different well-being groups in rural areas of Nepal?
  •  what is the role and capacity of local institutions to enable poor people to adapt to climate change?
  •  how can Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) be effective local institutions to enable poor people to adapt to climate change?

Findings from the research so far are that vvulnerability to climate change has a significant relationship with well-being status of households; weather based agriculture and water resources are most impacted livelihood assets of the communities; the adaptation practices followed by communities was ad hoc, short term and reactive in nature and many responses were also pushing communities towards mal-adaptation; and the roles and functions of local institutions are crucial in enabling vulnerable people in climate change adaptation. There is a need to reform policies, practices and mindset and governance of local institutions to rebuild trust and support to most vulnerable communities.


The research will contribute to improved policies and governance arrangements to deliver pro-poor adaptation strategies, reduce vulnerabilities and improve livelihoods of poor people.

Popular Gentle
Charles Sturt University – Albury

September 2013