Ecological Economics | 2021
Forest power: The impact of community forest management on female empowerment
Abstract Community forest management (CFM) systems have been implemented in developing countries as forest conservation initiatives with community development objectives. Women are often active in CFM by participating in non-timber forest product harvesting and management. Given the increasing presence of women in CFM, this study assesses whether participating in community forest management gives females more household decision-making power, a proxy for empowerment. This is a relevant issue because many development policies are implemented with female empowerment objectives, yet no existing rigorous quantitative studies have examined whether women s participation in CFM empowers them. Using an ordered logistic regression and an instrumental variable method, we analyze a household-level survey of forest-dwelling residents living in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in northern Guatemala. We find that female s participation in CFM increases her intra-household bargaining power on average. The results demonstrate that CFM systems can have development benefits that extend beyond increased household income and welfare.