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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Use of benefit cost analysis with equity considerations to evaluate social forestry projects in India Khetarpal, S. K.


Benefit cost analysis (BCA) has been found to be an inadequate tool for evaluating social forestry projects because of its indifference, to income distribution and inability to evaluate some environmental benefits (Sirivastava and Pant, 1979). Application of BCA, with consideration of income distribution, to the evaluation of social forestry projects in India is the subject of this thesis. A social forestry project has been implemented since 1982 in Maharashtra State (India) with the help of the Government of the U.S.A. to meet increasing requirements for fuelwood, fodder and small timber, to save existing forests, and to improve income distribution. Most of the village (common) lands included in the project for establishing fuelwood and fodder plantations are degraded and severely overgrazed. More productive but distant public forest lands are also available for establishing plantations. Whether or not the use of public forest lands for establishing fuelwood plantations is socially more efficient than planting on village (common) lands, is investigated and answered. The various approaches to incorporating equity in economic benefits are reviewed and the Squire and Van der Tak (1975) method is used. Five alternative plantation programs are considered in this thesis. Three of the plantation programs have been implemented since 1982 under the Maharashtra State social forestry project. The other two plantation' programs; are plantation programs on the public forest lands proposed to meet social forestry objectives. Costs other than the labour employed during the off-agriculture season have been valued at market prices. The labour cost during the off-agriculture season is valued at the shadow price of labour. A methodology is established for valuation of indirect benefits from saving the forests from deforestation. Social benefits are valued by attaching equity weights. From the results of the economic and social benefit cost analysis it is concluded that the program of distributing free seedlings to the farmers for planting on the field boundaries is economically and socially far more efficient than any other plantation program considered in this thesis. Establishing of fuelwood and fodder plantations on public forest lands is economically and socially more efficient than establishing plantations on degraded and severely overgrazed village (common) lands.

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