The government of Bangladesh has placed the utmost priority on participatory forestry (PF) since the 1980s, and this approach was commenced in the degraded Sal forest areas through a donor-funded project in 1989. These forest reforms aim to eliminate the main causes of forest depletion as well as alleviate poverty through the participation of local people, who depend on the forests for their livelihoods. This study explores the impact of PF initiatives on the livelihoods of the local ethnic and non-ethnic populations, drawing empirical data from the participatory forestry programs (PFPs). The findings indicate that the most common feature of PFPs were the contribution of financial capital to the participants, whereas other livelihood capitals faced constraints and difficulties. In addition, inequity issues and social capital differences were created between the ethnic and non-ethnic participants, and a lack of commitment by the local Forest Department resulted in PFPs having limited success in creating sustainable livelihoods for the participants. The overall situation revealed that PFPs alone were not sufficient to conserve and develop the Sal forests or assure people's basic needs. Therefore, a long-term-integrated approach by the Forest Department is necessary to address the diversified needs of low-income forest-dependent people in a more sustainable way.
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