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Community spirit forestland: perspective, challenges and alternatives

Community spirit forestland is space in which villagers practice and maintain their religious values toward natural spirits via traditional rituals. This land has been recognized over many generations as owned by the whole community and its management and protection is closely associated with the traditional practices and ideologies of the community, the roles of elderly and prestigious peo- ple and clan heads who voluntarily implement its management. In addition to its spiritual purpose, this forestland provides resources to ensure the livelihood of households in the community for living, cultivating, housing, firewood, herbal medicines and food. In minds of villagers these community forestland areas have always belonged to them and were transferred to them by their previous generations. Yet local communities still do not have rights under the law to manage and use these forest- land areas.


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