Community forestry requires field staff to enter into a partnership with forest users. However, field staff often find it difficult to adjust to a "people centred" approach when they have been used to a more traditional role involving policy functions. Furthermore, their traditional role has not equipped them with the skills needed for implementing community forestry. Therefore, training programmes in community forestry need to be designed to facilitate the partnership with forest users. This paper argues that field staff can rapidly adjust to their new role of advisers if they are given appropriate training, support and encouragement until they become self-reliant. Moreover, it is emphasised that there is often a gap between training and implementation. It is argued that bridging this gap demands the whole-hearted support from the District Forest Officers. The training needs for community forestry are examined and the development of participatory methodologies and new initiatives for training field staff in community forestry are described.
Nepal Australia Community Forestry Project