Community entrepreneurship: Lessons from Nepal's Chaubas community forestry sawmill

Krishna K. Shrestha, Govinda Paudel, Hemant Ojha, Naya Sharma Paudel, Ian Nuberg, Edwin Cedamon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Nepal's community forestry is well studied and widely acknowledged, but its experience of Community Forestry Enterprises (CFEs) as a form of community entrepreneurship has not been part of a robust scholarly debate. While CFEs are considered a means to enhance community livelihoods and reduce poverty, a growing body of literature suggests that it is difficult to establish, grow and sustain economically profitable and socially beneficial CFEs. Across the developing world, many CFEs have emerged, functioned for certain periods of time, and then disappeared. In view of this, several conceptual questions have been raised about the viability and sustainability of CFEs. The aim of this paper is to investigate why CFEs fail and what could make them succeed. By analyzing the Chaubas-Bhumlu Community Sawmill of Nepal (hereafter, Chaubas CFE), this paper demonstrates that CFEs do not necessarily become successful, despite good access to natural resources, reasonable business plans, and significant start-up capital and support from external stakeholders. The Chaubas CFE struggled to sustain the enterprise in the face of changing government policies and politics, persistent conflictual community level dynamics, and the lack of local business capacity. We argue that the confidence on communities to engage in the business of natural resources is not well founded, especially in the context of complex social, political, and environmental realities that underpin business development and operation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102779
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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