Social forestry (SF) has the potential to improve rural livelihoods and alleviate poverty among forest-dependent people. It can also help to protect forests against encroachment and illegal felling. Many actors are involved in the implementation and execution of SF, which is inherently political because of competing access to and control over forests embedded within social and power relations. Consequently, SF entails an emblematic struggle for dominance and power between diverse actors. A study was undertaken in Teknaf peninsula, which contains highly degraded forests, to examine the extent of power and livelihood assets of actors engaged in social forest management. Seventeen actors were identified in relation to SFs in Teknaf, which contributed to the program's complex and imbalanced power dynamics. The forest administration retained the most power at each level and played a dominant role in decision-making and other management activities. The analysis of livelihoods revealed that the SF program has had positive impacts on the livelihood capital of beneficiaries, indicating that it is an appropriate managerial approach for improving livelihoods within local communities while simultaneously protecting forest cover. Based on the study's findings, decentralization of power and a reduction of the actors involved in SF are highly recommended. Further, there is a need for more intensive training and the development of appropriate technologies for tree-crop cultivation in Teknaf SF.
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