Nhem, Sareth, & Young Jin Lee (2019, September). Using Q methodology to investigate the views of local experts on the sustainability of community-based forestry in Oddar Meanchey province, Cambodia. Forest Policy and Economics, 106, art. 101961. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2019.101961)

Abstract: Deforestation has become an issue of public interest and sensitivity in Cambodia. Community-based forestry (CBF) and the accompanying local institutional community forestry (CF) arrangements are increasingly recognized as successful mechanisms to achieve sustainable forest management. However, in most community-managed forestry studies, there has still been no significant exploration of the viewpoints of local people to determine the monitoring and actions needed to enable CBF to achieve sustainable forest management. Therefore this study examines the perspectives of local experts across a range of issues and challenges facing CBF sustainability, using Q-methodology. This paper adapted and used four criteria for sustainable forest management to design the 43 Q-statements to guide examination of the subjectivity of local experts concerning CBF sustainability in Cambodia. The 52 respondents were purposively selected from the 13 Community Forestry sites to Q-sort the Q-statements. The findings revealed that most local experts felt that the environmental condition (criteria I), the loss of forest, is critical but one factor strongly disagreed. Considering socio-economic benefits and needs (criteria II), there were similarly polar views about whether the community desperately needs external finance now or whether they have the collective will to act and need to show that first. Only one of the factors supported further REDD+ projects reasonably strongly; others valued eco-tourism opportunities. None of the factors ranked the quality of community-based forest management practices (criteria III) strongly although there was mild agreement about a lack of CF management accountability. There were contrasting views on the legal, policy, and institutional framework and governance (criteria IV), with disagreement about the importance of local enforcement, and quality of local communication and consultation. All agreed, however, that the current position does not give them meaningful ownership and control over forest resources.

Sareth Nhem <nhemsareth@gmail.com> is in the Graduate School, National University of Management, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Young Jin Lee <leeyj@kongju.ac.kr> is in the College of Industrial Science, Graduate School of Natural Sciences, Department of Forest Resources, Konju National University, Yesan, South Korea.