Community forestry, which is how local communities are involved in forest conservation and utilization activities, is an important forestry program in developing tropical countries. We evaluated the importance of geographical factors and community characteristics in the deforestation of community forests between 2000 and 2019 in the buffer zone of Inlay Lake Biosphere Reserve, Myanmar, using a mixed-effects logistic regression model. Distance to the nearest village, slope, and distance to the community forestry boundary were the most important variables explaining deforestation in community forests. Forests closer to human settlements and with gentle slopes faced higher risks of deforestation, presumably because such forests are more accessible. In addition, forests located far from the boundaries of community forests were more vulnerable to deforestation. Community characteristics were less important compared with geographical factors. Leadership was the most important variable among community characteristics, although not statistically significant. We conclude that deforestation depends more on forest accessibility. This indicates that the locations at which new community forests are established should receive increased consideration.
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