Over the last two decades, participatory forestry practices have gained a remarkable shift from top down traditional forest management to more people-oriented approaches in Bangladesh. The new approaches have involved many actors; however, their relative role or actor power has not been investigated thoroughly. Hence, the study was undertaken to identify the relative role of actors in participatory agroforestry program (PAP) and assess how the interests of powerful actors influence the social, economic and ecological outcomes of PAP. Using different quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques, the study identified twenty actors, representing a diversity of interests in PAP in Madhupur Sal forests area. The actors’ power analysis suggested that the forest department evidenced itself as the most powerful and influential actor in every dimensions of power. The study argues that PAP has no doubt led a new elucidation of forest management with a strategy to include local people so as to improve Sal forests condition and livelihoods of local communities. At the same time, exercising of power especially from the powerful actors has strictly controlled the empowerment and access of local people, and apparently reduced the participants’ opportunities to maximize outcomes of PAP. So, there is an immediate need to empower local participants, by which they can easily play the central role in decision making and governing all of their development activities.
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